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Full text of "The complete works of Thomas Manton, D.D. : with memoir of the author"

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, 1906 





VOL. X. 


W. LINDSAY ALEXANDER, D.D., Professor of Theology, Congregational 
Union, Edinburgh. 

JAMES BEGG, D.D., Minister of Newington Free Church, Edinburgh. 

THOMAS J. CRAWFORD, D.D., S.T.P., Professor of Divinity, University,. 

D. T. K. DRUMMOND, M.A., Minister of St Thomas s Episcopal Church,. 

WILLIAM H. GOOLD, D.D., Professor of Biblical Literature and Church 
History, Reformed Presbyterian Church, Edinburgh. 

ANDREW THOMSON, D.D., Minister of Broughton Place United Presby 
terian Church, Edinburgh. 

General <tritor. 














SERMON XVII. " And cast ye the unprofitable servant into utter 
darkness : there shall be weeping and gnash 
ing of teeth," ver. 30, . .3 

XVIII. " When the Son of man shall come in his glory, 
and all the holy angels with him, then shall 
he sit upon the throne of his glory : and 
before him shall be gathered all nations ; 
and he shall separate them one from another, 
as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the 
goats : and he shall set the sheep on his 
right hand, but the goats on the left," 
ver. 31-33, . . . .14 

f , XIX. " When the Son of man shall come in his glory, 

and all the holy angels with him, then shall 
he sit upon the throne of his glory," ver. 31, 23 

, XX. " And before him shall be gathered all nations ; 

and he shall separate them one from another, 
as a "shepherd divideth his sheep from the 
goats : and he shall set the sheep on his 
right hand, but the goats on the left," 
ver. 32-33, . . . .33 

, XXI. " Then shall the King say unto them on his 

right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
inherit the kingdom prepared for you from 
the foundation of the world," ver. 34, . 45 

XXII. "For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat; 

I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink ; I was 
a stranger, and ye took me in ; naked, and 
ye clothed me ; I was sick, and ye visited 
me; I was in prison, and ye came unto 
me," ver. 35, 36, . . . .56 

XXIII. " Then shall the righteous answer and say, Lord, 
when saw we thee an hungered, and fed 
thee? and thirsty, and gave thee drink 1 ? 
when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee 
in 1 and naked, and clothed thee ] or when 



saw we thee sick and in prison, and came 
unto thee 1 And the King shall answer and 
say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inso 
much as you have done it unto one of the 
least of these my brethren, ye have done it 
unto rne," ver. 37-40, . . .66 

SERMON XXIV. "Thenshallhesayalsountothem on the left hand, 
Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting 
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," 
ver. 41, . . . .77 

XXV. " Then shall he say to them on the left hand, 

Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting 
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," 
ver. 41, . . . .83 

XXVI. " Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting 
fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," 
ver. 41, . . . .92 

XXVII. " And these shall go away into everlasting pun 
ishment : but the righteous into life eternal," 
ver. 46, . . . . 100 


SERMON I. " These words spake Jesus, and lift up his eyes 

to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is 
come ; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also 
may glorify thee," ver. 1, . . .109 

II. " As thou hast given him power over all flesh, 

that he should give eternal life to as many 
as thou hast given him/ ver. 2, .125 

tt III. " And this is life eternal, that they might know 

thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, 
whom thou hast sent," ver. 3, . .139 

n IV. " And this is life eternal, that they might know 

thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, 
whom thou hast sent," ver. 3, . .156 

V. " I have glorified thee on the earth : I have 

finished the work which thou gavest me to 
do," ver. 4, . . . .169 

n VI. "And now, Father, glorify thou me with 

thine own self, with the glory which I had 
with thee before the world was," ver. 5, . 185 

VII. "I have manifested thy name unto the men 

which thou gavest me out of the world : 
thine they were, and thou gavest them me ; 
and they have kept thy word," ver. 6, .195 



SERMON VIII. " I have manifested thy name unto the men 
which thou gavest me out of the world : 
thine they were, and thou gavest them me, 
and they have kept thy word," ver. 6, . 203 

., IX. " I have manifested thy name unto the men 

which thou gavest me out of the world : 
thine they were, and thou gavest them me, 
and they have kept thy word," ver. 6, . 210 

X. " Now they have known that all things, what 
soever thou hast given me, are of thee," 
ver. 7, 218 

XL " For I have given unto them the words which 

thou gavest me ; and they have received 
them, and have known surely that I came 
out from thee, and they have believed that 
thou didst send me," ver. 8, . . 226 

XII. " I pray for them : I pray not for the world, but 

for them which thou hast given me; for 
they are thine," ver. 9, . . . 241 

XIII. " And all mine are thine, and thine are mine ; 

and I am glorified in them," ver. 10, . 255 

XIV. " And now I am no more in the world, but these 

are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy 
Father, keep through thine own name those 
whom thou hast given me, that they may 
be one, as we are," ver. 11, . . 269 

XV. " And now I am no more in the world, but these 

are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy 
Father, keep through thine own name those 
whom thou hast given me, that they may 
be one, as we are," ver. 11, . . 281 

XVI. " And now I am no more in the world, but these 

are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy 
Father, keep through thine own name those 
whom thou hast given me, that they may 
be one, as we are," ver. 11, . . 291 

XVII. " And now I am no more in the world, but these 

are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy 
Father, keep through thine own name those 
whom thou hast given me, that they may 
be one, as we are," ver. 11, . 300 

XV-HI. " And now I am no more in the world, but these 

are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy 
Father, keep through thine own name those 
whom thou hast given me, that they may 
be one, as we are," ver. 11, . .313 



SERMON XIX. " And now I am no more in the world, but these 
are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy 
Father, keep through thine own name those 
whom thou hast given me, that they may 
be one, as we are," ver. 11, . . .322 

XX. " While I was with them in the world, I kept 

them in thy name : those that thou gavest 
me I have kept, and none of them is lost, 
but the son of perdition ; that the scripture 
might be fulfilled," ver. 12, . . 334 

XXI. " And now I come to thee ; and these things I 

speak in the world, that they might have 
my joy fulfilled in themselves," ver. 13, . 352 

XXII. " I have given them thy word ; and the world 

hath hated them, because they are not of 
the world, even as I am not of the world," 
ver. 14, . . . . . 363 

XXIII. " I have given them thy word ; and the world 
hath hated them, because they are not of 
the world, even as I am not of the world," 
ver. 14, . . . . . 376 

., XXIV. " I pray not that thou shouldest take them out 
of the world, but that thou shouldest keep 
them from the evil," ver. 15, . . 389 

,, XXV. " They are not of the world, even as I am not 

of the world," ver. 16, . . .403 

XXVI. " Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word 

is truth," ver. 17, . . . . 411 

XXVII. " Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word 

is truth," ver. 17, . . . . 422 

XXVIII. "Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word 

is truth," ver. 17, . . . . - 438 

XXIX. " Sanctify them through thy truth : thy word 

is truth," ver. 17, . . . .450 

XXX. "As thou hast sent me into the world, even so 

have I also sent them into the world," 
ver. 18, . . . . . 461 

XXXI. " As thou hast sent me into the world, even so 
have I also sent them into the world," 
ver. 18, . . . . 470 

XXXII. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so 
have I also sent them into the world," 
ver. 18, . . . .482 




VOL. X. 



And cast ye the unprofitable servant into utter darkness : there shall 
be weeping and gnashing of teeth. MAT. XXV. 30. 

IN these words is the positive part of the sentence ; the master doth 
not only take away the talent, but condemneth him to eternal torments. 
In them take notice (1.) Of the reason of the punishment ; and then, 
(2.) The punishment itself. 

1. The reason of the punishment is represented in the notion and 
character by which the party sentenced is expressed, The unprofitable 
servant. The word unprofitable is sometimes used in a larger, and 
sometimes in a stricter sense. In a larger sense it is used for him 
that deserveth no reward ; so it is said, Luke xvii. 10, We are unpro 
fitable servants. Sometimes more strictly and properly for the- idle 
and the negligent, for them that do not their duty, and make no 
improvement of their gifts. So it is taken here, and in many other 
places ; /cat TOV a%peiov $ov\ov e/cySaXXere, Cast ye the unprofitable 

2. The punishment itself is represented by two notions : 

[1.] It is dismal, Cast him into utter darkness/ 


[2.] It is doleful, There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth/ 
First, Dismal ; et? TO O-/COTO? TO e^wrepov. (2.) It is doleful ; eicei 
6 K\avd/jib^ teal 6 ftpvyfjios TWV oSovrwv. Sometimes hell is 
expressed by one of these notions ; as Mat. xiii. 42, He will cast the 
tares into a furnace of fire : there shall be weeping and gnashing of 
teeth ; so Mat. xxiv. 51, He shall cut him asunder, and appoint him 
his portion with hypocrites, where shall be weeping and gnashing of 
teeth/ It is notable, that is the punishment of the luxurious servant, 
that did eat and drink with the drunken, and beat his fellow-servants ; 
and here the unprofitable servant is threatened with the same, though 
he was not riotous, but negligent. Sometimes by both together ; as 
Mat. viii. 11, 12, The children of the kingdom shall be cast into utter 
darkness ; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth ; and Mat. 
xxii. 13, Take him away, and cast him into utter darkness ; there 
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth/ 


Now, let us first consider the punishment as it is dismal, Cast him 
into utter darkness. There are two terms to be explained darkness, 
and utter darkness. 

1. Darkness. Heaven is set forth by light, and hell by darkness. 
The inheritance of the saints is called an inheritance in light/ Col. i. 
12, because that is an estate full of knowledge ; for there we see God 
face to face, 1 Cor. xiii. 12 ; an estate full of joy and comfort, Ps. xvi. 
11 ; an estate full of brightness and glory : Dan. xii. 3, They shall 
shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and 
ever ; Mat. xiii. 43, The righteous shall shine as the sun in the 
kingdom of heaven. How base soever the children of God appear in 
this world, in the world to come they shall be wonderful glorious. Now 
the opposite state of this is set forth by darkness ; as the fallen angels 
are said to be held in chains of darkness/ 2 Peter ii. 4 ; or as Jude 
hath it, in chains under darkness/ Jude 6. Hell is compared to a 
prison or dungeon, 1 Peter iii. 19. So Christ speaketh of hell as the 
prison wherein damned spirits are held in a wretched and comfortless 
estate, in a state most remote from joy and blessedness. 

2. It is called utter darkness, either because their prisons or dun 
geons were out of the city, as appeareth Acts xii. 10, or because they 
shall be shut from the feast or rooms of entertainment. Their feasts 
were usually kept by night ; suppers, and not dinners ; and then cele 
brated with a great many lamps and candles or torches. Now, those 
that were not only shut out from those rooms of entertainment, but 
cast into dungeons, were left in a comfortless condition. That it is 
opposite to the feast, these two places, Mat. viii. 12, and Mat. xx. 13, 
show. And here, when the good servants enter into the master s joy/ 
or sit down and feast with him, then is the naughty servant cast into 
utter darkness ; that is, shut out of the communion of the blessed 
spirits (who in the place of happiness have eternal joy), and cast into 
the dungeon of hell. 

Secondly, Let us consider it as it is doleful, Where shall be weep 
ing and gnashing of teeth. Their estate shall be sad, and they shall 
have a bitter apprehension of it. Their apprehension is expressed by 
two things their sorrow and indignation. 

1. Their desperate tormenting sorrow, e /cet ftXavO/jibs, weeping. 
This dolour shall arise from the inexplicable torments of body and 

2. Their indignation or vexation, c gnashing of teeth. It is a token 
of indignation and impatience ; as Acts vii. 54, When they heard 
these things, they were cut at the heart, and gnashed on him with 
their teeth. I shall explain it more by and by. Two points will arise 
hence : 

Doct. 1. That hell is a place and state of inexpressible torments. 

Doct. 2. That unprofitableness is a damning sin. 

The unprofitable servant is condemned, though he did not waste his 
master s goods, yet because he did not increase them. There is no 
treachery laid to his charge, no riot and wasteful profusion, no oppo 
sition to his fellow-servants, to vex or hinder them in their work. We 
hear nothing of this laid to his charge ; but he neglected to do that 
which is good. 


For the first point, that hell is a place and state of inexpressible 
torment, the argument may seem harsh and ingrate, but this is part 
of the doctrine that we must unfold. See the commission of the 
ministers of the gospel : Mark xvi. 16, He that believeth shall be saved, 
and he that believeth not shall be damned. It is gospel preaching 
to warn men of damnation ; we must curse, as well as bless ; and this 
part of doctrine hath its profit, as well as the more comfortable. 

1. To those that are carnal, to rouse them out of their security. If 
men did believe the torments of hell, they would not sin as they do. 
Sermons of hell may keep many out of hell. Ne fugiamus sermones 
de Gehenna, ut Geliennam fugiamus. John startled many by pressing 
them to flee from wrath to come. And it is God s usual course to 
bring to heaven by the gates of hell. 

2. To God s children ; partly that they may know what they have 
escaped, to be the more thankful to their Kedeemer. We were all 
involved in this condemnation ; and it is the Lord s mercy that we are 
as brands plucked out of the burning, Zech. iii. 2. A child of God 
is a firebrand of hell quenched, Eph. ii. 3. It was the pity of our 
Lord Jesus to rescue us, 1 Thes. i. 10. It is a part of a Christian s 
heaven to think of hell. The miseries of this life commend heaven to 
us ; much more the torments of hell. We know good the better by 
the opposite evil ; as the Israelites, when they looked back, and saw 
the Egyptians tumbling in the waters, it heightened the deliverance, 
and made them the more sensible of their own safety. And partly to 
warn them, and quicken them to their duty. This motive alone would 
beget slavish fear and compulsory obedience ; but mixed with others, 
it doth good. We need this discipline as long as we are in the world. 
We are flesh as well as spirit. Adam in innocency needed to be 
threatened and told of death. Paul saith, 1 Cor. ix. 27, I keep under 
my body, and bring it into subjection ; lest that by any means, when 
I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. If so sanc 
tified a man as Paul, much more we ; and Eom. viii. 13, If ye live 
after the flesh, ye shall die ; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the 
deeds of the body, ye shall live. It is one of the saints motives. And 
partly because they that cannot endure to hear of such discourses discover 
much of the guilt and security of their own hearts. As Ahab said of 
Michaiah, He prophesieth nothing but evil, so men say of many of the 
preachers of the gospel (that yet speak with tenderness and compassion), 
He preacheth nothing but hell and damnation. Presumption is a 
coward and a runaway ; but faith meeteth its enemy in open field : 
Ps. xxiii. 4, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
yet I will fear no evil. It supposeth the worst ; it can encounter the 
greatest terrors ; but a false unsound peace is a tender thing, loath to 
be touched, cannot endure a few sad and sober thoughts of the world 
to come, as sore eyes cannot endure the light. I shall only speak of 
this dreadful place and estate as it cometh under the view of this text, 
leaving a more full discussion of this point to the 41st verse of this 

1. That there is a hell, or everlasting torments prepared for the 
wicked. It is good to prove a hated truth strongly. Now, it is so, 
that there is a hell, if God, or man, or devils be competent witnesses 


in the case. God hath ever told the world of it, and his witness is true. 
In the Old Testament but sparingly, because the state of the world to 
come was reserved as a discovery fit for the times of the gospel, 2 Tim. 
i. 10 ; yet there God speaketh, Deut. xxxii. 22, of a fire kindled in 
his anger, that shall burn to the lowest hell. God s wrath is repre 
sented by fire, which is an active instrument of destruction ; and the 
seat and residence of it is in the lowest hell. So Ps. xi. 6, Upon the 
wicked shall he rain snares, fire, and brimstone. See more, ver. 41. 

2. Let us see it described here. 

First, As a dismal state, Cast them out into utter darkness ; that 
is (1.) Shut them out of the feast ; and (2.) Cast them into the dun 
geon of hell. There they shall be deprived of all consolation and joy 
and happiness. As 

1. Of the sight of God, the company of the good angels and blessed 
spirits ; to which loss there is added the most inexplicable torments of 
body and soul, which is exceeding great. And it is a dreadful thing 
to be deprived of the light of God s countenance, to be banished out of 
his presence. The disciples wept when Paul said, Ye shall see my 
face no more/ Acts xx. 38. What will the damned do when he shall 
say, Depart, ye cursed, as it is in the 41st verse ? Here in the loss 
all are equal, but not in the pain ; all alike depart from God ; they all 
lose heaven s joys, the favourable presence of God, and the sight of 
Christ, the company of the blessed, and their abode in those happy 
mansions in Christ s Father s house. Hell is a deep dungeon, where 
the sunshine of God s presence never cometh. God is summum 
bonum, the chiefest good ; and in the other world, omne bonum, all in 
all. All things there are immediately from God, rewards and punish 
ments. Better lose all things than God : Exod. xxxiii. 15, If thy 
presence go not with us, carry us not up hence. 

Object. But is it any grief to the wicked to want God, from whom 
they have such an extreme averseness and hatred ? 

Ans. They are sensible of the loss of happiness ; their judgment is 
changed, though not renewed. Fogs of error, atheism, and unbelief 
then vanish ; they are confuted by experience. There are no atheists 
in hell ; they know there is a God, and that all happiness consists in 
the full enjoyment of him; which happiness they have lost by their 
own folly, as by their bitter experience they can find, being in a place 
most remote from him : therefore, as rational creatures, they cannot 
but be sensible of their loss ; and that sense must needs breed sadness 
and dejection of spirit ; being they look not upon God as lovely in 
himself, but as one that might be profitable to them : oculos quos 
occlusit culpa, aperiet posna. It would lessen their torments if their 
understandings might be taken away : they know what it is to want 
God, though their hatred of him still remaineth. 

2. The sight of Christ. They had a glimpse before they went into 
hell, by the glory of his presence : 2 Thes. i. 9, They shall be pun 
ished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord/ 
That short experience of Christ s appearing will remain in their minds 
to all eternity ; it will stick by them. How are they thrust out ? 
Christ himself, who hath the keys of death and hell, shall bid them go; 
as if he had said, I cannot endure your presence. 


3. From the company of the blessed : Luke xiii. 28, There shall 
be weeping, and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and 
Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and 
you yourselves thrust out. Envy is a great part of their punishment, 
as well as horror : Luke xvi. 27, And being in torments, he lift up 
his eyes, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom/ It is 
a torment to think that others of the same nature, interests, instruc 
tion, do enjoy what they have forfeited. 

4. From an abode in the palace of heaven : Kev. xxii. 15, With 
out shall be dogs and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and 
idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. If the pavement of 
heaven is glorious, what will the place itself be ? And from this glori 
ous place they are banished. 

Secondly, This utter darkness implieth positively a state of woe and 
misery most remote from this blessedness ; for as they are shut out of 
the palace of heaven, so they are cast into the prison of hell, where all 
is dark, without hope of ever coming out more : 2 Peter ii. 17, To 
whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. Hell is a region upon 
which the sun shall never shine. They know they shall never be 
reconciled to God, nor their punishment ended or lessened : Their 
worm shall never die, their fire shall never be quenched, Mark ix. 44. 
They can never hope to be admitted into God s presence more. There 
are many ups and downs in a Christian s experience. God hideth his 
face sometimes, that he may show it afterwards the more gloriously. 
The church prayeth, Ps. Ixxx. 19, Turn again, and cause the light of 
thy countenance to shine upon us, and we shall be saved. But this is 
an everlasting darkness. God doth, as it were, by chains hold them 
under everlasting torments. It is a curse that shall never be reversed, 
a comfortless life that shall never have an end. Men might lose 
the face of God if they were annihilated ; but the souls of men and 
women do not go to nothing, or die as their bodies, but subsist in a 
dolesome miserable state of darkness, and in the place of everlasting 
imprisonment, where the devils and damned spirits torment one another. 
All here are kept safe, without any possibility of escaping ; here God 
holdeth them in everlasting chains. 

Now this is just ; they that rejected the light are thrust into utter 
darkness. They reject the light of the gospel : John iii. 19, Men love 
darkness more than light. They despise the light of glory, in com 
parison of worldly things and present satisfactions : Ps. cvi. 24, They 
despised the good land. They forsake God and their own happiness ; 
that which is now their sin is then their misery. They first excom 
municated God, Job xxii. 17, and that for a trifle. They think his pre 
sence a torment : Mat. viii. 20, What have we to do with thee ? art 
thou come to torment us before the time ? Eom. i. 28, They did not 
like to retain God in their knowledge. They could not endure to 
think of God, and abhorred their own thoughts of God, that they were 
their burden. 

Secondly, It is a doleful place and state. Here are two notions, the 
one expressing their grief and sorrow, the other their vexation and 

1. Their grief and sorrow. In hell there is nothing but sorrow and 


fear, overwhelming sorrow and despairing fear : it is a helpless and 
hopeless grief. Carnal men are prejudiced against godly sorrow ; but 
that is useful and profitable, 2 Cor. vii. 10. These sorrows would pre 
vent those that the damned suffer in hell. The sorrows of repentance 
are joys in comparison of these sorrows ; the sorrows of repentance are 
full of hope. God will afford comforts to his mourners ; but the sor 
rows of the damned are heightened by their own desperations ; it is 
for ever and ever. These are small, those swallow us up ; these are 
curing, those tormenting ; here it is like pricking a vein for health, 
hereafter wounds to the heart. These are mixed with love : Luke vii., 
she that loved much, wept much. The cup of wrath is unmixed, 
confounding and overwhelming us with continual amazement. These 
are short, those endless. 

2. Their vexation and indignation. The grinding and the gnashing 
of the teeth is usually in pain or rage, in pain of body and soul. But of 
that afterwards, when I come to speak of hell under the notion 
of everlasting fire. Now, as it is a token and effect of rage. Now 
the damned are represented as full of rage, blasphemy, and indignation 
against God, against the saints, and against themselves. 

[1.] Against God ; they have despised his favour, and now feel the 
power of his justice and displeasure against them, and have still an 
implacable hatred against him. We see in Rev. xvi. 9, when they 
were scorched with great heat, they blasphemed the name of God, 
which had power over these plagues ; and repented not, to give glory 
to God : they blasphemed the God of heaven, because of their pains 
and sores, and repented not of their deeds. I know that this pro 
phecy doth not concern the state of the wicked in hell, but their plagues 
and disappointments in this world. However the fashion and guise of 
the reprobate is to be observed, here when they will not repent, so 
there when they cannot repent. Like men distracted and mad, they 
gnaw their tongues, and gnash their teeth ; like mad dogs, that bite 
their chains, or wild bulls in a net or toil, that roar and foam. They 
will curse God that created, and sentenced them to this death ; his 
power, by which they are continually tormented ; his wisdom, by which 
he governeth the world ; his goodness, that to them is turned into 
fury ; his Son s death and blood, which hath profited so many, and they 
have no benefit by it. 

[2.] Against the saints. They hate them, and have an envy at all 
the felicity that betideth them in this world : Ps. xxxvii. 12, The 
wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth at him with his teeth ; 
so Ps. cxii. 10, The horn of the righteous shall be exalted with hon 
our : the wicked shall see it, and be grieved ; he shall gnash with his 
teeth, and melt away. The godly are their opposite party ; then their 
blessedness shall be so great that they shall envy their happiness when 
they see the godly in good case, and themselves miserable. At the 
great day the wicked shall see the believers joy to the increase of their 
own sorrow. 

[3.] Against themselves; their own hearts shall reproach them: 
Hosea xiii. 9, Thou hast destroyed thyself. They shall rave and vex 
at their own past folly, past neglects, and past abuse of grace, and past 
refusal of that happiness which others enjoy, when they find their own 


delights salted with the present curse. Little comfort and satisfaction 
shall they have, when they remember they came thither to avoid the 
tediousness of a few blessed duties. 

Use. Is to shame us that we make no more preparation to escape 
this dreadful estate ; or, in the language of the Holy Ghost, that we 
do not flee from wrath to come. No motion can be earnest and 
speedy enough. There are two things that are very great wonders : 

1. That any man should reject the Christian faith, so clearly pro 
mised in the predictions of the prophets, before it was revealed, and 
confirmed with such a number of miracles, when it was first set afoot, 
received among the nations by so universal a consent, in the learned 
part of the world, notwithstanding the meanness of the instruments 
employed in it ; and perpetuated to us throughout so many successions 
of ages, who have had experience of the truth of it And yet still we 
have cause to complain : Isa. liii. 1, Lord, who hath believed our 
report? Some cannot outsee time and look beyond the grave: 1 
Peter i. 9, He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar 
off ; and 2 Peter iii. 3, There shall come in the latter times scoffers, 
and mockers, walking after their own lusts. Many dare not question 
the precepts of Christianity, because of their usefulness to human 
society and reasonable nature ; they doubt of the recompenses, 
and yet have a secret fear of them, and seek to smother it by their 
incredulity and unbelief. But alas ! it will not do. They scoff at 
others as simple and credulous ; none so credulous as the atheist ; 
there is a thousand to one against him : at least, if it prove true, in 
what a case are they ? It will do them no hurt to venture upon pro 
babilities until further assurance. What assurance would you have ? 
Luke xvi. 30, 31, You have Moses and the prophets ; if you believe 
not them, neither will you be persuaded if one came from the dead. 
"Will you give laws to heaven ? God is not bound to make a sun for 
them to see that wilfully shut their eyes; yet that way what assurance 
would you have to prove this is nc phantasm ? Doth God need a lie 
to persuade you to your duty ? But 

2. The greater miracle is that any should embrace the Christian 
faith, and yet live sinfully and carelessly ; that they should believe as 
Christians, and yet live as atheists. You cannot drive a dull ass into 
the fire that is kindled before him : Prov. i. 17, Surely in vain is the 
net spread in the sight of any bird. How can men believe eternal 
torments, and yet with so much boldness and easiness run into the sins 
that do deserve them ? Many times not compelled by any terror, nor 
asked or invited by any temptation, but of their own accord they tempt 
themselves, and seek out occasions of sinning. On the other side, can 
a man believe heaven, and do nothing for it ? If we know that it will 
not be lost labour, there is all the reason we should not grudge at it : 
1 Cor. xv. 58, Be steadfast and unmovable, always abounding in the 
work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour shall not be 
in vain in the Lord. 

Now there are three causes of this : (1.) Unbelief ; (2.) Inconsi- 
deration ; (3.) Want of close application. 

[1.] Want of a sound belief. Most men s faith is but pretended, as 
appeareth by the effects. 


(1.) By our proneness to sin. If God did govern the world by sense, 
and not by faith, we should be other manner of persons than we are, 
in all holiness and godliness of conversation. If we were sure and 
certain that for every law we break, or for every one whom we deceive 
and slander, we should hold our hands in scalding lead for half an 
hour, how afraid would men be to commit any offence ? Who would 
taste meat, if he knew there were present death in it ? yea, that it 
would cost him bitter gripes and torments ? How cautious are men 
of their diet that are prone to the stone, or gout or colick, where it is 
but probable the things we take will do us any hurt ? We know 
certainly that the wages of sin is death, yet how little are we con 
cerned at sin ! 

(2.) By our backwardness to good works. Sins of omission will 
damn as well as sins of commission, small as well as great. It is not 
said, Ye have robbed, but, Ye have not fed, ye have not clothed ; not, 
Ye have blasphemed, but, Ye have not invoked the name of God ; not 
done hurt, but done no good : And cast the unprofitable servant/ &c. 

(3.) By our weakness in temptations and conflicts. We cannot 
deny a carnal pleasure, yet we are told, Kom. viii. 13, If ye live after 
the flesh, ye shall die. Nor withstand a carnal fear, yet we are told, 
Mat. x. 28, Fear not him that can kill the body, but fear him that 
can cast both body and soul into hell. But shrink at the least pains 
of duty, when we are told on the one hand, 1 Cor. xv. 58, That our 
labour shall not be in vain in the Lord ; on the other side, Eev. xxi. 
8, That the fearful and unbelieving shall have their part in the lake 
which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. 
On the other side, that it is the most irrational thing to go to hell to 
save ourselves the labour of obedience. The whole world promised 
for a reward cannot induce us to enter into a fiery furnace for half an 
hour. If one much desiring sleep, which is Chrysostom s supposition, 
should be told that if he once nodded he should endure ten years tor 
ment, would he venture ? 

(4.) By our carelessness in the matters of our peace. If we were in 
danger of death every moment, we would not be quiet till we got a 
pardon. All men by nature are children of wrath, liable to this 
horrible estate that hath been described to you ; but yet few run for 
refuge, Heb. vi. 18, 19, nor flee from wrath to come, Mat. iii. 7. 
Seek peace upon earth/ Luke ii. 14. Labour to be found of him 
in peace/ 2 Peter ii. 14. How can a man be at rest, till he be secured, 
and can bless God for an escape ? 

[2.] Want of serious consideration. The scripture calleth for it 
everywhere : Ps. 1. 22, Consider this, ye that forget God ; and Isa. i. 
3, My people will not consider. Many that have faith do not act it, 
and set it a-work by lively thoughts. When faith and knowledge are 
asleep, it differeth little from ignorance or oblivion, till consideration 
awaken it. Carnal sensualists put off that they cannot put away, 
Amos vi. 3. Many that know themselves wretched creatures are not 
troubled at it, because they cast these things out of their thoughts, and 
so they sleep ; but their damnation sleepeth not, it lieth watching to 
take hold of them ; they are not at leisure to think of eternity. 

[3.] Want of close application : Eom. viii. 31, What shall we then 


say to these things ? Job v. 27, Know this for thy good. Whether 
promise or threatening, we must urge and prick our hearts with it. 
Self-love maketh us fancy an unreasonable indulgence in God, and 
that we shall do well enough, how slightly and carelessly soever we 
mind religion. We do not lay the point and edge of truths to our 
own hearts, and say, Heb. ii. 3, How shall we escape if we neglect so 
great salvation ? These are the causes. Now there is no way to 
remedy this but to get a sound belief of the world to come, and often 
to meditate on it, and urge our own hearts with it. 

Doct. 2. That unprofitableness is a damning sin. 

If there were no more, this were enough to ruin us. By unprofit 
ableness I do not mean want of success ; to the best, gifts may be 
unprofitable : Isa. xlix. 4, I have laboured in vain/ saith the prophet 
Isaiah ; but want of endeavour, omitting to do our duty. The scope 
of the parable is to awaken us from our negligence and sloth, that we 
may not prefer a soft and easy lazy life before the service of God, and 
doing good in our generation. Now, because we think omissions are 
no sins, or light sins, I shall take this occasion to show the heinousness 
of them ; and here I shall show two things : 

First, That there are sins of omission. Sins are usually distin 
guished into sins of omission and commission. A sin of commission 
is when we do that which we ought not ; a sin of omission, when we 
leave that undone which we ought to do. But when we look more 
narrowly into these things, we shall find both in every actual sin ; for 
in that we commit anything against the law, we omit our duty, and 
the omitting of our duty can hardly or never fall out but that something 
is preferred before the love of God, and that is a commission. But 
yet there is ground for the distinction, because when anything is 
formally and directly committed against the negative precept and 
prohibition, that is a sin of commission; but when we directly sin 
against an affirmative precept, that is an omission. We have an 
instance of both in Eli and his sons. Eli s sons defiled themselves 
with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the 
congregation, 1 Sam. ii. 22. Eli sinned in that he restrained them 
not/ 1 Sam. iii. 13. His was an omission, theirs a commission. 

Secondly, That sins of omission may be great sins appeareth 

1. Partly by the nature of them. There is in them the general 
nature of all evil ; that is, avopia, a transgression of a law, 1 John 
iii. 4 ; a disobedience and breach of a precept, and so by consequence 
a contempt of God s authority. We cry out upon Pharaoh when we 
hear him speaking, Exod. v. 2, Who is the Lord, that I should obey 
his voice ? By interpretation we all say so ; this language is couched 
in every sin that we commit, and every duty we omit. Our negligence 
is not simple negligence, but downright disobedience, because it is a 
breach of a precept ; and the offence is the more, because our nature 
doth more easily close with precepts than prohibitions. Duties 
enjoined are perfective, but prohibitions are as so many yokes upon 
us. We take it more grievously for God to say, Thou shalt not 
covet, than for God to say, Thou shalt love me, fear me, and serve 
me. We are contented to do much which the law requireth, but to 
be limited and barred of our delights, this is distasteful. To meet with 


man s corruptions indeed, the decalogue consists more of prohibitions 
than precepts ; eight negatives, the fourth and fifth commandments 
only positive. To be restrained is as distasteful to us as for men in a 
fever to be forbidden drink ; nature is more prone to sin. But to 
return, there is much disobedience in a sin of omission. When Saul 
had not done what God bid him to do, he telleth him, Kebellion is 
as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry, 1 
Sam. xv. 11 ; implying that omission is rebellion, and stubbornness 
parallel to idolatry and witchcraft. 

2. Partly by the causes of them. The general cause is corrupt 
nature : They are all become unprofitable/ Kom. iii. 12, compared 
with Ps. xiv. 3, They are altogether become filthy. There is in all 
by nature a proneness to evil, and a backwardness to good. Onesimus 
before conversion was unprofitable, good for nothing, Philem. v. 11 ; 
but grace made a change, make him useful in all his relations. The 
particular causes are (1.) Idleness and security ; they are loath to be 
held at work : Isa. Ixiv. 7, None stirreth up himself to lay hold on 
thee; They forget his commandments, Jer. ii. 31, 32. (2.) Want 
of love to God : Isa. xliii. 22, Thou hast been weary of me, Israel ; 
and Eev. ii. 4, Nevertheless I have something against thee, because 
thou hast left thy first love. And (3.) Want of zeal for God s glory : 
Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord/ Kom. 
xii. 11. Where there is a fervour, we cannot be idle and neglectful 
of our duty. There is an aversion from God before there is an express 
disobedience to him. 

3. Partly by the effects internal, external, eternal. 

[1.] Internal; gifts and graces languish for want of employment: 
1 Thes. v. 19, Quench not the Spirit. Thomas his omission made 
way for his unbelief, John xx. 24. 

[2.] External ; it bringeth on many temporal judgments. God put 
by Saul from being king for an omission : 1 Sam. xv. 11, It repenteth 
me for setting up Saul to be king, for he hath not done the thing that 
I commanded him ; forbearing to destroy all of Amalek. For this he 
put by Eli s house from the priesthood: 1 Sam. iii. 13, I will judge 
his house for ever, because his sons made themselves vile, and he re 
strained them not. Eli s omission is punished as well as his sons 
commission, yet it was not a total omission. Compare 1 Sam. ii. 23- 
25, And he said unto them, Why do ye such things ? for I hear of 
your evil dealings by all this people ; nay, my sons, for it is no good 
report that I hear of you ; ye make the Lord s people to transgress : if 
one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him ; but if a man 
sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him ? Notwithstanding they 
hearkened not to the voice of their father. His admonition was grave 
and serious, yet it was not enough. All Israel knew their sin before ; 
Eli took upon him to reprove them secretly, whereas the fact was 
open, and he should have put them to open shame : and then his 
rebukes were mild and soft ; he should have frowned upon them, 
punished them, but his fondness would not permit that. 

[3.] Eternal, here in the text : Cast the unprofitable servant/ &c. 
These sins Christ will mainly inquire after at the day of judgment; 
and ver. 42, 43 of this chapter, and Mat. vii. 19, Every tree that 


bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire; 
though not bad or poisonous fruit. By all these arguments it appear- 
eth that sins of omission may be great sins. 

Thirdly, That some sins of omission are greater that others. All 
are not alike, as the more necessary the duties, the more faulty the 
omission : Heb. ii. 3, How shall we escape if we neglect so great sal 
vation? 1 Cor. xvi. 22, If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, 
let him be anathema maranatha. Not if a man hate, but if he love 
not, &c. These are peccata contra remedium, as others contra officium. 
By other sins we make the wound, by these we refuse the plaster. 
Again, if the omission be total : Jer. x. 25, Call not on the name 
of the Lord; Ps. xiv. 3, None seeketh after God. Again, when 
seasonable duties are neglected : Mat. xxv. 44, When I was an 
hungered ye fed me not; 1 John iii. 17, He that hath this world s 
goods, and seeth his brother in need ; Prov. xvii. 16, Why is there 
a price put into the hand of a fool? And then when it is easy, this 
is to stand with God for a trifle : Luke xvi. 24, Desideravit guttam, 
qui non dedit micam ; Amos ii. 6, They sold the poor for a pair of 
shoes. And when convinced of the duty : James iv. 17, To him that 
knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin/ 

Fourthly, In many cases sins of omission may be more heinous and 
more damning than sins of commission. (1.) They are the ruin of 
most part of the carnal world. Carnal men are often described by 
their omissions, To be without God/ Eph. iii. 12 ; Ps. x. 3, 4, The 
wicked through the pride of their heart will not seek after God ; God 
is not in all their thoughts ; Jer. ii. 32, None stirreth up himself to 
seek after God/ And (2.) Partly because these are most apt to harden 
us more. Foul sins scourge the conscience with remorse and shame, 
but these bring on insensibly slightness and hardness of heart ; and 
therefore Christ saith, publicans and harlots shall enter into the 
kingdom of God before pharisees that rested in a superficial right 
eousness, but neglected faith, love and judgment, Mat. xxi. 31. And 
(3.) Partly because omissions make way for commission of evil : Ps. 
xiv. 4, They that called not upon God eat up his people like bread/ 
They lie open to gross sins that do not keep the heart tender by a 
daily attendance upon God. If a man do not that which is good, he 
will soon do that which is evil, John ii. 13. Oh ! then, let us bewail 
our unprofitableness, that we do no more good, that we do so much 
neglect God, and no more edify our neighbour, so that God s best gifts 
lie idle upon our hands. 

Fifthly, The first and main evil of sin was in the omission : Jer. 
ii. 13, My people have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters; 
James i. 14, Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away by his 
own lust, and enticed/ First enticed from God, and then drawn away 
to sin, therefore the work of grace is to teach us to deny ungodliness 
and worldly lusts/ Titus ii. 12. By ungodliness is meant, not denying 
God, but neglecting God ; there our chief mischief began ; for when 
we do not look upon God as our chief good, then we seek happiness in 
the creature. 

Use 1. To show that if the unprofitable servant be cast into hell, what 
will become of them that live in open sins, that bid defiance to God ? 


2. To condemn the unprofitable lives of many ; they live as if they 
had only their souls for salt to keep their bodies from stinking ; cumber 
the ground, Luke xiii. 7 ; do not good in their relations, are neither 
comfortable to the bodies nor souls of others. Certainly how mean 
and low soever you be in the world, you may be useful. Dorcas made 
coats for the poor. Servants may adorn the gospel, Titus ii. 10. 

3. If sins of omission be so dangerous, we may cry out with David, 
Ps. xix., Who can understand his errors? The children of God 
offend in these kind of sins oftener than in the other kind. They are 
not guilty of drunkenness or uncleanness, but of omission of good 
duties, or slight performance of them. Paul complaineth, Bom. 
vii. 18, 19, For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth 
no good thing ; for to will is present with me, but how to perform 
that which is good, I find not ; for the good that I would, I do not. 
And should not you complain likewise ? A child is not counted dutiful 
because he doth not wrong and beat his father ; he must also give him 
that reverence that is due to him. Alas ! how many duties are re 
quired of us to God and men, the neglect of which we should humble 
ourselves before God for ! 


When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels 
with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory : and before 
him shall be gathered all nations ; and he shall separate them one 
from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats : 
and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the 
left. MAX. XXV. 31-33. 

THIS latter paragraph I cannot call a parable, but a scheme and 
draught or a delineation of the last judgment, intermingled with many 
passages that are plainly parabolical ; as that Christ setteth forth him 
self as a king sitting upon the throne of his glory, and as a shepherd 
dividing his flock ; that he compareth the godly to sheep and the 
wicked to goats. Those allegations and dialogues between Christ and 
the righteous, Christ and the wicked, When saw we thee an hungry ? 
&c., have much of the nature of a parable in them. In these three 
verses we have described 

1. The appearance, or sitting down of the judge. 

2. The presenting the parties to be judged. The former is in ver. 
31, the latter in ver. 32, 33. In ver. 31 we have 

[1.] The person who shall be the judge, the Son of man. 

[2.] The manner of his coming ; it shall be august and glorious. 
Where note 

(1.) His personal glory, he shall come in his glory. 

(2.) His royal attendance, and all the holy angels with him. 

(3.) His seat and throne, then shall he sit upon the throne of his 

First, The person is designed by this character and appellation, 


the Son of man. He is called so to show that he is true man, and 
descended of the present race of men. He might have been true man 
if God had framed his substance out of nothing, as he did Adam out of 
the dust of the ground. And this title is given him here, as in many 
other places, when the last judgment is spoken of, as I shall show you 
by and by 

1. Partly to recompense his foregoing humiliation, or despicable 
appearance at his first coming. 

2. Partly because of his second coming : he shall appear visibly in 
that nature as he went from us : Acts i. 11, In like manner/ &c. 
Christ shall come in the form of a man, but not in the same humble 
and mean appearance as now when he spake these things to them; 
for it is added for the manner 

[1.] For his personal glory, He shall come in his glory. Not in 
the form of a servant, but becoming his present state. All infirmities 
shall be removed from his soul and body. It is not a borrowed glory, 
but he shall come in his own glory. It is said, Mat. xvi. 27, The 
Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father. Here, in his own 
glory. The Son of man and the son of God is only one person ; and 
his glory as God and his Father s glory is the same. So that he shall 
come in his glory, noteth either (1.) His divine power and majesty, 
which shall then conspicuously shine forth ; or (2.) The glory put upon 
the human nature ; and so it will note his plenary absolution as our 
surety. The Father sendeth him from heaven in power and great 
glory : He appeareth without sin, Heb. ix. 28. He doth not say, 
They that look for him shall be without sin ; but He shall appear the 
second time without sin unto salvation ; that is, fully discharged of 
our debt. First, he came in carnem ; he showed himself in the nature 
of man to be judged: then, in came ; he shall show himself in the 
nature of man to judge the world. At his first coming he was holy, 
yet in the garb of a sinner ; we judged him as one forsaken of God : 
his second coming shall make it evident that he is discharged of the 
debt he took upon himself. 

[2.] His royal attendance. The angels shall attend him, both to 
honour him and to be employed by him. 

[3.] His royal posture, he shall sit upon the throne of his glory. 
A glorious throne, beseeming the Son of God and the judge of the 
quick and the dead, shall be erected for him in the clouds, such as 
none can imagine how glorious it shall be till they see it. 

Secondly, The next thing that is offered in these words is the pre 
senting the parties to be judged ; and there you may take notice 

1. Of their congregation, and before Mm shall be gathered all 

2. Their segregation, and he shall separate them one from another, 
as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. In the segregation 
we have 

[1.] The ordering them into two several ranks and companies, sheep 
and goats, ver. 32. 

[2.] As to posture and place, ver. 33, And he shall set his sheep 
on the right hand and the goats on his left. Not only a separation as 
to Christ s knowledge and discerning them, but a separation in place. 


I begin with the first branch, the appearance and sitting down of 
the judge. 

Two points I shall observe: 

Doct. 1. That the judge of this world is Jesus Christ. 

Doct. 2. That Christ s appearance for the judgment of the world 
shall be glorious and full of majesty. 

For the first point, that Jesus Christ is the world s judge 

1. Here I shall inquire why he is judge. 

2. In what nature he doth act or exercise this judgment, whether as 
God or man, or both. 

First, Let us inquire how Christ cometh to be the world s judge, 
and with what conveniency and agreeableness to reason this honour is 
put upon him ? To a judge there belongeth these four things (1.) 
Wisdom ; (2.) Justice; (3.) Power; and (4.) Authority. 

1. Wisdom and understanding, by which he is able to judge all 
persons and causes that come before him, according to the rules and 
laws by which that judgment is to proceed ; for no man can give sen 
tence in a cause wherein he hath not skill, both as to matter of right 
and wrong, and sufficient evidence and knowledge as to matter of fact. 
Therefore, in ordinary judicatures, a prudent and discerning person is 

2. Justice is required, or a constant and unbiassed will to determine 
and pass sentence, ex cequo, et bono, as right and truth shall require. 
He that giveth wrong judgment because he doth not accurately under 
stand a thing is imprudent, which in this business is a great fault ; 
but he that doth rightly understand a matter, and yet is biassed by 
perverse affections and aims, and giveth wrong judgment in the cause 
brought before him, that is highly impious and flagitious ; therefore, 
the judge must be just and incorrupt. 

3. Power is necessary that he may compel the parties judged to 
stand to his judgment, and the offenders may receive their due punish 
ment ; for otherwise all is but precarious and arbitrary, and the judg 
ment given will be but a vain and solemn pageantry. 

4. There is required authority; for otherwise, if a man should 
obtrude himself of his own accord, they may say to him, Who made 
theeajudge over us? Or if he by mere force should assume this 
power to himself, the parties impleaded have a pretence of right to 
decline his tribunal, and appeal from him. Certainly he that rewards 
must be superior, and much more he that punisheth ; for he that 
punisheth another bringeth some notable evil and damage upon him ; 
but for one to bring evil upon another, unless he hath right to do it, 
is unjust ; therefore good authority is required in him that acts the 
part of a judge. These things, as they stand upon evident reason, and 
are necessary in all judicial proceedings between man and man, so 
much more in this great and solemn transaction of the last judgment ; 
for this will be the greatest court that ever was kept both in respect, 
of the persons to be judged, which shall be all men and evil angels, 
high and low, small and great, rich and poor, princes and subjects ; 
and in respect of the causes that shall be produced, the whole business 
of the world for six thousand years, or thereabouts ; or the retributions 
made, which shall be punishments and rewards of the highest nature 


and degree, because everlasting. And therefore there must be a judge 
sought out that is exactly knowing not only of laws, but of all persons 
;md causes : That all things should be naked, and open to him with 
whom we have to do/ Heb. iv. 12, 13, and 1 John iii. 20. Again, 
exceeding just, without the least spot and blemish of wrong dealing : 
Gen. xviii. 25, Shall not the judge of all the earth do right ? and Horn, 
iii. 5, 6, Is God unrighteous, that taketh vengeance ? God forbid : 
for then how shall God judge the world? It cannot be that the 
universal and final judgment of all the world should be committed to 
him that hath or can do anything wrongful and amiss. And then, 
that power is necessary both to summon offenders, and make them 
appear, and stand to the judgment which he shall award, without any 
hope of escaping or resisting, will as easily appear ; because the offen 
ders are many, and they would fain hide their guilty heads, and shun 
this tribunal, if it were possible : Kev. vi. 16, Say to the mountains 
and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth 
upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. But that must 
not, cannot be : Ps. xc. 11, Who knoweth the power of thine anger ? 
According to thy fear, so is thy wrath/ Authority is necessary also, 
or a right to govern and to dispose of the persons judged into their 
everlasting estate ; which being all the world, belongeth only to the 
universal king, who hath made all things, and preserveth all things, 
and governeth and disposeth all things for his own glory. Legislation 
and execution both belong to the same power. Judgment is a part of 
government. Laws are but shadows if no execution follow. Now, let 
us particularly see how all this belongeth to Christ. 

[1.] For wisdom and understanding. It is in Christ twofold 
divine and human; for each nature hath its particular and proper 
wisdom belonging to it. As God, it is infinite : Ps. cxlvii. 15, His 
understanding is infinite. And so by one infinite view, or by one act 
of understanding, he knoweth all things that are, have been, or shall 
be, yea, or may be, by his divine power and all-sufficiency. They are 
all before his eyes, as if naked and cut down by the chine-bone. We 
know things successively, as a man readeth a book, line after line, and 
page after page ; but God at one view. Now his human wisdom 
cannot be equal to this. A finite nature cannot be capable of an 
infinite understanding, but yet it is such as it doth far exceed the 
knowledge of all men and all angels. When Christ was upon earth, 
though the forms of things could not but successively come into his 
mind or understanding, because of the limited nature of that mind and 
understanding, yet then he could know whatever he would, and to 
whatsoever thing he would apply his mind, he did presently under 
stand it ; and in a moment, by the light of the divinity, all things were 
presented to him ; so that he accurately knew the nature of whatever 
he had a mind to know. And therefore then he was not ignorant of 
those things that were in the hearts of men, and were done so secretly 
as they were thought only to be known to God himself. Thus he knew 
the secret touch of the woman, when the multitude thronged upon 
him, Luke viii. 45, 46. So Mat. ix. 3, 4, When certain of the scribes 
said within themselves, This man blasphemeth : Jesus knowing their 
thoughts, said, Why think ye evil in your hearts ? He discerneth 

VOL. x. B 


the inward thoughts, and turneth out the inside of the scribes minds. 
So Mat. xii. 24, 25, Jesus knew their thoughts when they imagined 
that by Beelzebub the prince of the devils he cast out devils. But 
most fully, see John ii. 24, 25, He committed not himself to them, 
because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of 
man ; for he knew what was in man. It may be they knew not them 
selves, but he knew what kind of belief it was, such as would not hold 
out in time of temptation. We cannot infallibly discern professors 
before they discover themselves ; yet all hypocrites are seen and known 
of him, even long before they show their hypocrisy, not by a conjectural, 
but a certain knowledge, as being from and by himself, as God. He 
doth infallibly know what is most secret and hidden in man. Now, if 
he were endowed with such an admirable understanding even in the 
days of his flesh, while he grew in wisdom and stature, Luke ii., and 
his human capacity enlarged by degrees, what shall we think of him 
in that state in which he is now glorious in heaven ? Therefore, to 
exercise this judgment, he shall bring incomparable knowledge, so far 
exceeding the manner and measure of all creatures, even as he is 
man ; but his infinite knowledge as God shall chiefly shine forth in 
this work. Therefore he is a fit judge, able to bring forth the secret 
things of darkness and counsels of the heart into open and manifest 
light, 1 Cor. iv. 5, and disprove sinners in their pretences and excuses, 
and pluck off their disguises from them. 

[2.] For justice and righteousness. An incorrupt judge, that neither 
doth nor can err in judgment, must be our judge. As there is a 
double knowledge in Christ, so there is a double righteousness ; one 
that belongeth to him as God, the other as man ; and both are exact 
and immutably perfect. His divine nature is holiness itself : In him 
is light, and no darkness at all. The least shadow of injustice cannot 
be imagined there. All virtues in God are his being, not superadded 
qualities. God s holiness may be resembled to a vessel of pure gold, 
where the substance and lustre is the same ; but ours is like a vessel 
of wood or earth gilded, where the substance and gilding is not the 
same. Our holiness is a superadded quality. We cannot call a wise 
man, Wisdom ; or a righteous man, Righteousness. We use the 
concrete of man, but the abstract of God. He is love, he is light, he 
is holiness itself ; which noteth the inseparability of the attribute from 
God. It is himself ; God cannot deny himself : his act is his rule. 
Take Peter Martyr s similitude : A carpenter chopping a piece of 
wood by a line or square, may sometimes chop right and sometimes 
wrong ; he cannot carry his hand so evenly ; but if we could suppose 
that a carpenter s hand were his rule, he could not chop amiss. 
Christ s human nature was so sanctified, that upon earth he could not 
sin, much more now glorified in heaven. And there will be use of 
both righteousnesses in the last judgment ; but chiefly of the righteous 
ness that belongeth to the divine nature ; for all the operations of 
Christ are theandrical ; neither nature ceaseth to work in them. As 
in all the works of men, the body and the soul do both conspire and 
concur in that way which is proper to either ; only, as in the works of 
his humiliation his human nature did more appear, so in the works 
that belong to his exaltation and glorified estate, his divine nature 

VERS. 31-33.] SERMONS UPO>T MATTHEW xxv. 19 

appeareth most ; especially in this solemn action, wherein Christ is to 
discover himself to the world with the greatest majesty and glory. 

[3.] For power. A divine power is plainly necessary, that none may 
withdraw themselves from this judgment, or resist or hinder the execu 
tion of this sentence ; for otherwise it would be passed in vain : Titus ii. 
13, Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of the great 
God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Christ is then to show himself 
the great and powerful God. His power is seen in raising the dead, in 
bringing them together in one place, in opening their consciences, in 
casting them into hell : Mat. xxiv. 30, The Son of man shall come 
from heaven with power and great glory. 

[4.] For authority. I shall the longer insist on this, because the 
main hinge of all lieth here, and this doth bring the matter home. 
That Jesus Christ, and none but Jesus Christ, shall be the world s 
judge. By the law of nature, the wronged party and the supreme 
power hath right to require satisfaction for the wrong done. Where 
no power is publicly constituted, possibly the wronged party hath 
power to require it ; but where things are better constituted, lest 
the wronged party should indulge his revenge and passion too far, it 
rests in the supreme power, and those appointed by it, to judge the 
matter, and to make amends to those that are wronged in their body, 
goods, or good name. Now, to God both these things concur. 

(1.) He is the wronged party, and offended with the sins of men. 
Not that we can lessen his happiness by anything that we can do ; for 
our good and evil reacheth not unto him ; his essential glory is still 
the same, whether we obey or disobey, please or displease, honour or 
dishonour him. That which is eternal and immutable neither is 
lessened nor increased by anything that we can do. He is out of the 
reach of all the darts that we can cast at him. Hurt us they may, but 
reach him they cannot. But sin, it is a wrong to his declarative 
glory as sovereign lord and lawgiver, as it is a breach of his law. 
There was hurt done to Bathsheba and Uriah, Ps. li. 4, but the sin and 
obliquity of the action was against God and his sovereign authority. 
If the injury done to the creature could be severed from the offence 
done to God, it were not so great. God is the author of the light of 
nature, and that order which begetteth a sense of good and evil in our 
hearts. God is the author of the law given by Moses, and the gospel 
revealed by his Son. Therefore, whatever things are committed against 
the law of nature, or the law of Moses, or the gospel, certainly it is a 
wrong to the justice of God, as being a breach of that order which he 
hath established : 1 John iii. 4, He that committeth sin, transgresseth 
also the law ; for sin is a transgression of the law/ Laws cannot be 
despised, but the majesty of the lawgiver is contemned, disparaged, 
and slighted. Therefore upon this right God might come in as a very 
proper judge. But, indeed, God doth not punish merely as offended, 
or as a private man revengeth himself, where there is no power pub 
licly constituted to do him right ; but he properly judgeth. 

(2.) A supreme and sovereign lord, and governor of the world, to 
whom it belongeth, for the common good, to see that it be well with 
them that do well, and ill with them that do evil, arid that no com 
passion be showed but where the case is corupassionable, according to 


that declaration he hath made of himself to the creatures. To declare 
this more plainly, we shall see how this right accrueth to God. It may 
be supposed to accrue to him two ways either because of the excel 
lency of his being, or because of his benefits which he hath bestowed 
upon mankind. 

(1st.) The excellency of his being. This is according to the light 
of nature, that those that excel should be above others ; as it is clear 
in man, who is above the brute creatures; he is made to have dominion 
over them, because he hath a more excellent nature than they. And 
when God said, Let us make man after our own image, he presently upon 
that account gave him dominion over the beasts of the field, and fowls 
of the air, and fishes of the sea. So God, being infinite, and far above all 
finite things, hath a power over the creatures, angels or men, who are as 
nothing to him, and therefore to be governed by him. But chiefly 

(2d.) By virtue of the benefits bestowed by him ; for great benefits 
received from another do necessarily beget a power over him that 
receiveth them ; as parents have a power and authority over their 
children, who are a means under God to give them life and education ; 
the most barbarous people would acknowledge this. How much greater, 
then, is the right of God, who hath given us life, and breath, and being, 
and well-being, and all things ! He created us out of nothing ; and 
being created, he preserveth us, and giveth us all the good things 
which we enjoy. And therefore we are obliged to be subject to him, 
and to obey his holy laws, and to be accountable to him for the breach 
of them. Therefore, let us state it thus : As the excellency of his 
nature giveth him a fitness and a sufficiency for the government of 
mankind, his creation, preservation, and other benefits give him a full 
right to make what laws he pleaseth, and to call man to an account 
whether he hath kept them, yea or no. His right is greater than 
parents can have over their children ; for in natural generation they 
are but instruments of his providence, acting only the power which 
God giveth them ; and the parents propagate nothing to the children 
but the body, and those things that belong to the body ; called, there 
fore, The fathers of our flesh, Heb. xii. 9. Yea, in framing the body 
God hath a greater hand than they ; for they cannot tell whether the 
child will be male or female, beautiful or deformed. They know not 
the number and posture of the bones, and veins, and arteries, and 
sinews ; but God doth not only concur to all these things, but form 
the spirit of man in him/ Zech. xii. 1. And all the care and provi 
dence of our parents cometh to nothing, unless the Lord directeth it, 
and secondeth it with his blessing. Therefore God naturally is the 
governor and judge of all creatures, visible and invisible; so that, from 
his empire and jurisdiction they neither can nor ought to exempt 
themselves. So that to be God and judge of the world is one and the 
same thing expressed in divers terms. 

Well, then, you will ask, Why is Christ the judge of the world, 
7-ather than the Father and the Spirit, who made us, and gave the law 
to us ? I answer 

1. That we have gone a good step to prove that it is the pecu 
liar right of God, common to the three persons, Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost ; for these three are one/ 1 John v. 7. They have one 


common nature, and the operations that are with the divine essence 
are common to them all. So that as the creation of all things is 
equally attributed to all, so also the right of this act of judging the 
world doth alike agree to all. So that as yet the thing is not explained 
enough, unless we should grant that it shall he exercised by all, or can 
prove out of the scriptures that one person of these three is ordained, 
and by mutual consent chosen out by the rest to exercise it for himself 
and for the other. Indeed, at the first, when the doctrine of the 
Trinity was not as yet openly revealed, it was not needful to inquire 
more diligently after it ; but this general truth sufficed, that God is 
the judge of the world. As when Enoch said; Jude 14., Behold, the 
Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints ; and as David, Ps. Ixiv, 
2, Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth; and Ps. 1. 6, God is 
judge himself ; and in many other places. It was enough to under 
stand it of one only and true God, without distinction of the persons ; 
but when that mystery was clearly manifested, then the question was 
necessary, which of the persons should be judge of the world? 

2. As there is an order among the persons of the blessed Trinity in 
the manner of subsisting, so there is also a certain order and economy 
according to which all their operations are produced and brought forth 
to the creature ; according to which order their power of judging fell 
partly to the Father, and partly to the Son. 

[1.] In the business of redemption. The act of judging, which was 
to be exercised upon our surety, who was substituted in our room and 
place, and offered himself not only for our good, in bonum nostrum, but 
loco et vice nostri, to bear our punishment, and to procure favour to 
us; there the act of judging belongeth to the Father, to whom the 
satisfaction is tendered, 1 John ii. 1 ; the advocate is to plead before 
the judge. But 

[2.] As to the judgment to be exercised upon us, who either par 
take of that salvation which was purchased by that surety, or have lost 
it by our negligence and unbelief; there the Son, or second person, is 
our judge. In the former, the Son could not be judge, because in a 
sense he made himself a party for our good, and in our room and 
place ; and the same person cannot be both judge and party too ; give 
and take the satisfaction both ; that cannot be. Well, then, in this 
other judgment the Holy Ghost cannot be conveniently the judge ; for 
in this mystery he hath another part, function, and office prepared ; 
and being the third person in the order of subsisting, the Son was not 
to be passed over, but it fell to him. 

[3.] In the Son there is a double relation or consideration one as 
he is God, the other as he is mediator; the one natural and eternal, 
and shall endure for ever ; the other of mediator, which as he took 
upon himself in time, so in the consummation of time he shall at 
length lay aside : in this latter respect, as mediator, he is judge by 
deputation. The primitive sovereign and judge is God ; and the king 
and judge by derivation is Jesus Christ the mediator, in his manhood, 
united to the second person in the Godhead; and so the judgment of 
the world is put upon him. In regard of the creatures, his authority 
is absolute and supreme, for there can be no appeal from his judgment; 
but in regard of God, it is deputed. He is ordained ; so it is said, 


John v. 27, The Father hath given him authority also to exercise 
judgment, because he is the Son of man. He hath the power of life 
and death, to condemn and to absolve. So Acts x. 42, He is ordained 
of God to be the judge of the quick and the dead ; and Acts xvii. 31, 
He hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in right 
eousness by that man whom he hath ordained. In all which he acts 
as the Father s vicegerent ; and after he hath judged, He shall deliver 
up the kingdom to God, even the Father/ 1 Cor. xv. 24. So that the 
right of Christ as mediator is not that which befalleth him imme 
diately from the right of creation ; but is derivative, and subordinate 
to that kingdom which is essential to him, common to the Father, Son, 
and Spirit. 

[4.] This power which belongeth to Christ as mediator is given to 
him partly as a recompense of his humiliation ; of which I shall 
speak in the second point. But chiefly 

(1.) Because it belongeth to the fulness of his mediatory office ; and 
therefore, being appointed king by the Father, his last function as a 
king was to judge the world. The Mediator was not only to pay a 
price to divine justice, and to separate the redeemed from the world, by 
his Spirit converting them to God, but also to judge the devil, and all 
those enemies out of whose hands he had freed! the Church. He was 
to fight against the blind world, and triumph over them ; and when, 
the world is ended, to judge them, and cast them into eternal tor 

(2.) His office is not full till this be done. It is a part of his ad 
ministration as mediator. The last act of conquest is overcoming his 
enemies, and glorifying and redressing injuries and wrongs of his saints. 

Secondly, In what nature he doth act and exercise the judgment, as 
God, or man, or both. 

I answer In both. Christ is the person, as God-man ; yet the judg 
ment is acted visibly by him in the human nature, sitting upon a 
visible throne, that he may be seen of all, and heard. Therefore 
Christ is so often designed by this expresion, Son of man ; as in the 
text, and Mat. xvi. 27, and Acts xvii. 31, and Mat. xxvi. 64, Ye shall 
see the Son of man coming in the clouds, with power and great glory; 
John v. 27. The Son of man is the visible actor and judge. Because 
the judgment must be visible, therefore the judge must be such as 
may be seen with bodily eyes. The Godhead puts forth itself by the 
human nature, in which all these great works are acted. 

Use. You see what need there is to get in with Christ: Horn. viii. 1, 
There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ; 
1 John ii. 28, And now, little children, abide in him, that when he 
shall appear we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him 
at his coming. Oh ! what a comfort will it be to have our Kedeerner 
in our nature to be our judge! Then we shall see our goel, our kins 
man, whom we have heard so much of, whom we have loved, and 
longed for. But the contemners of his mercy will find the Lamb s 
face terrible : Eev. vi. 16, And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall 
upon us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, 
and from the wrath of the Lamb. But believers will find their advo 
cate their judge, to reward those that trust in him, Ps. ii. 12. He that 


hath so often pleaded with God for us, he is to pass sentence upon us. 
Would a man be afraid to be judged by his dearest friend, or think his 
sentence would be terrible? If the devil were our judge, or wicked men, 
we might be sad; but it is your dear Lord Jesus ; therefore let us comfort 
ourselves with the thoughts of it. David s followers were afraid; but 
when he came to be crowned at Hebron, then he dignified and re 
warded them. Christ s followers are now despised; but when he shall 
come in his glory, they shall be invited into his kingdom : Come, 
ye blessed of my Father. 


Wlien the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy 
angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. 
MAT. XXV. 31. 

I COME now to the second point : 

Doct. 2. That Christ s appearance for the judgment of the world 
shall be glorious and full of majesty. 

I shall prove it by opening the circumstances of the text. Three 
things are offered here : 

1. His personal glory. 

2. His royal attendance. 

3. His glorious seat and throne. 

First, His personal glory. Let us see what it is, and why he will 
come in such an appearance. 

First, What it will be. We cannot fully know till we see it ; but 
certain we are this glory must be exceeding great, if we consider 

1. The dignity of his person. He is God-man ; and now that 
mystery is to be discovered to the utmost ; therefore he must needs 
have such a glory as never creature was capable of, nor can be ; but 
.at that day the creatures are capable of great glory ; for it is said, Mat. 
xiii. 43, The righteous shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of the 
Father. And if it be thus with the saints, how shall it be with 
Christ ? The saints are but creatures ; they are not deified when they 
are glorified ; but he is God-man in one person. The saints are but 
members of the mystical body, but Christ is the head ; and therefore 
lie must needs far excel the glory of all the creatures. Ours is but a 
derived ray ; the body of light is in himself. We read, 2 Thes. i. 10, 
that he will be admired in the saints; that is, in the glory he puts 
upon them. All the spectators shall stand admiring at the honour 
he puts upon them, that are but newly crept out of dust and rottenness. 
But how much more may he be admired for his own personal glory ! 

2. The quality of his office. He is the judge of the world, who 
now cometh to appear upon the throne, to be seen of all ; therefore 
there must be a glory suitable. We read, Acts xxv. 23, that Agrippa 
and Bernice came to the judgment-seat, pera TroX/V^? ^ayracrta?, with 
a great deal of pomp and state. And we see in earthly judicatures, 
when great malefactors are to be tried, the whole majesty and glory of 


a nation is brought forth; the judge in gorgeous apparel, accompanied 
with nobles and gentry and officers, and a great conflux of people, to 
make it more magnificent and terrible. So here is a conflux of the 
Avhole world, angels, devils, men from all corners of the earth ; all the 
men that ever were and ever shall be ; and Christ cometh forth in his 
greatest glory. 

3. Consider the greatness of his work, and that will show that his 
glory must needs be discovered. His work is, on the one side, to 
gather together, to convince, to judge, and punish creatures opposite 
and rebellious ; and to honour and reward his servants, on the other. 
There is not such a union and confederation of miracles in any one 
point and article of faith, so much as there is in this of the general 
judgment. The mighty power and dominion of God is seen in dis 
solving the elements, in raising the dead bodies, and giving every 
dust its own flesh, and bringing them together that they may be 
arraigned and judged; and then in separating them into their several 
ranks, in which his omnisciency and wisdom is seen, that not one of 
the reprobate shall lie hid among the elect. In judging them his 
justice cannot be eluded ; he that seeth all things in the light of the 
Godhead cannot want evidence. Then one of the books that is opened 
is in the parties custody ; and yet they cannot deface it, or blot it out. 
And then for execution, the majesty of his person and presence will be 
enough to confound a wicked man. How will the wolves tremble at 
the sight of the pure and unspotted Lamb ! Kev. vi. 16. Oh ! it will 
be a piercing sight to them to see him whom they have despised upon 
the throne ! That Jesus whose word they have scorned, whose ordi 
nances they have neglected or corrupted, whose servants they have 
molested ! When Joseph, who was so great and high in Egypt, dis 
covered himself to his brethren, I am Joseph, they were abashed 
and confounded because of the injury they had done him ; much more 
shall sinners be confounded when he shall tell them, I am Jesus/ and 
that he is come on purpose to be revenged on all the abusers and de- 
spisers of his grace, and the troublers of his people. How can they 
then look him in the face ? We read, that when they came to attack 
Christ, John xviii. 6, as soon as he had told them, I am he/ they 
went backward, and fell to the ground. He would convince his ene 
mies in the midst of his greatest abasement how full of majesty and 
terror his presence is, if he should let out the glory of it upon them. 
If the Lamb s voice be so terrible, how dreadful will he be when he 
roareth as a lion ! And if then, when he was taken and led to be 
judged, you may guess how glorious his presence will be when he 
cometh in all his glory to judge others. And by this you may under 
stand the apostle s expression, 2 Thes. i. 9, That the wicked shall 
be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the 
Lord, and from the glory of his power. From there is as much as 
l)ij ; it doth not signify there the kind of the punishment, the pcena 
damni, but the cause. The majesty of Christ is the cause of their 
torments ; and his look and face will be terror enough to sinners. 
And as he cometh in glory to shame and punish those that despised 
him, so to comfort and reward his people who have trusted in him, 
and served him, and suffered for him. He shall come from heaven in- 


state to lead them into those blessed mansions with honour : 1 Peter 
iv. 13, Rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ s sufferings; 
that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceed 
ing joy. They have seen, him in his worst, and now in his best also. 
The glory of Christ s appearing is sometimes expressed by fire, and 
sometimes by light. To the saints it is as light, and as a comfortable 
sunshine ; but to the wicked it is a dreadful fire, ev irvpl <f\ojo<; : 
2 Thes. ii. 8, And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the 
Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy 
with the brightness of his coming. 

4. If you consider some foregoing appearances of Christ. As for 
instance, at the giving of the law, it was the second person that man 
aged that appearance ; for it is said, Acts vii. 38, that it was an angel 
that appeared in Mount Sinai, and spoke to our fathers ; that is, the 
angel of the covenant, Jesus Christ ; for it is clearly said, Heb. xii. 26, 
that the voice of Christ then shook the earth. Now, what a dreadful 
appearance was that ! The earth shook, the mountain trembled, and 
out of the midst of the thunderings, and lightnings, and a thick cloud, 
was the sound of the trumpet heard, so that the people trembled ; yea r 
Moses himself, a meek man, that had done great service in the church, 
did exceedingly quake and tremble, Heb. xii. 18-21. When he gave 
the law, he is represented as a terrible judge, ready to overcome his 
adversaries with the tempest of his wrath ; much more when he cometh 
to execute the sentence of the law ; as execution is always more ter 
rible than promulgation. Or you may guess at it by the prophet 
Isaiah s terror when he saw God in vision, Isa. vi. 5. Into what an 
agony it drove that holy prophet ! Woe is me, for I am undone ; 
because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a 
people of unclean lips ; for mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of 
hosts. Adam fled from the presence of God walking in the garden, 
though God came to him in no terrible appearance, and though he 
had sinned, yet was not cut off from all hope of reconciliation. How 
will wicked men abide the presence of Christ when he cometh to show 
forth his glory, and they are excluded by his final sentence from all 
hope of pardon ? Or you may set it forth by the glory of Christ s 
transfiguration, the glory that was seen then ; for that was a glimpse 
of this glory of the Father, in which he shall appear at that day : Mat. 
xvii. 2, And he was transfigured before them, and his face did shine 
as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And then arose 
a bright cloud, and a voice out of the bright cloud : And when 
the disciples heard it, they were sore afraid. There was a glorious 
shining brightness, breaking through skin and garment, overwhelming 
the disciples, that they were not able to stand before his majesty, 
though it were in mercy revealed to them. Or by that appearance 
of the angel, described Mat. xxviii. 3, 4, His countenance was like 
lightning, and his raiment as white as snow ; and for fear of him the 
keepers did shake, and became as dead men. Or by the appearance 
of Christ to Paul, Acts ix., when he was blind for seven 1 days, when 
the Lord Jesus showed himself to him from heaven. These instances 
will give us a guess, a taste of it. But 

1 Three. ED. 


Secondly, Why he will come in this great glory ? I answer 
1. To take off the scandal and ignominy of the cross, and to recom 
pense him for his humiliation. He that was once despised in the 
world for his outward and despicable estate will then be glorious, 
when he shall declare his power in raising the dead by his voice, and 
all the elements burning about him, and all the saints and angels 
attending him, every one as bright as the sun ; a glorious high throne 
set in the air for him, and all the creatures presented before him, and 
bowing to him. Ransacking the consciences of sinners, and bringing 
forth the story of all his administrations in the world. Then there 
will be a full recompense for all his sufferings. To make this evident, 
let us compare the two comings of Christ. Christ s first coming was 
so obscure, that it was scarce observed and understood by the world. 
The second will be so conspicuous and glorious as to be seen of all. 
In the former, he came in the form of a servant, and the contemptible 
appearance of a mean man ; in the second, he corneth as the Lord and 
heir of all things, clothed with splendour and glory as with a garment. 
At his first coming he had a forerunner, The voice of one crying in 
the wilderness ; in the second he hath a forerunner also ; there the 
Baptist, here an archangel with his trumpet, 1 Thes. iv. 10. In his 
first coming he was accompanied with a few poor fishermen, twelve 
disciples, persons of mean condition and rank in the world ; now with 
legions of angels, and with his holy ten thousands of his saints, Jude 
14. Heretofore he raised three to life ; now all the dead. Then he 
was scorned, buffeted, spit upon ; now crowned with glory and honour. 
In the former he was to act the part of a minister of the circumcision, 
to preach the gospel to the people of Israel ; in the latter he shall act 
as the judge of all the world. In the former he invited men to repent 
ance, and offered remission of sins to those that received him as a 
redeemer; but in the latter he shall cut off all hope of pardon for 
evermore from them that received him not, and neglected their day of 
grace. At first he came to bear the sins of many ; but now he shall 
come without sin, Heb. ix. 28, not bearing a burden, but bringing a 
discharge ; not as a surety, but as a paymaster ; not as a sufferer, but 
as a conqueror ; triumphing over death, and hell, and the devil. He 
cometh, no more to go from us, but to take us from all misery unto 
himself. In the former state he was God-man ; but he did as it were 
hide his godhead under the infirmities of his flesh ; sometimes it 
peeped out through the veil in a miracle, but yet mostly obscuring 
himself ; but in the latter he shall discover himself with an unspeak 
able brightness and majesty, and there will be no need of miracles to 
prove the divinity of his person and office ; for then it shall be a 
matter of sense ; all shall see it, and feel it ; some with joy, others 
with trembling. In the former state he presented himself to suffer 
death ; but then he shall tread death under his feet. In the former 
lie was judged and condemned by men to an ignominious death, the 
death of the cross; but in the latter he will judge, and with his own 
mouth pronounce sentence upon all men, on all kings, emperors, and 
judges, as well as poor peasants, sitting upon a glorious throne and 
tribunal. Then he judged no man: John iii. 17, For God sent not 
his Son to condemn the world, but that the world through him might 


be saved. His work then was to hold out the way of life, or to open 
the way of salvation to lost man, as a meek saviour and mediator. So 
John xii. 47, If any man hear my words, and believe them not, I 
judge him not, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the 
world. I judge not/ that is, as yet. He laid aside the person of a 
judge then, and took on him the office of a Saviour, to offer and pur 
chase mercy ; that was his proper errand when he came first into the 
world. So Luke ix. 56, The Son of man is not come to destroy 
men s lives, but to save them/ And to comply with that end, he cast 
a veil upon his glory, and endured the enmity and contradiction of the 
world ; but now it is otherwise, so that the scandal of his first estate is 
fully taken off. 

2. He appeareth in this great glory to beget a greater reverence and 
fear in the hearts of all those that shall be judged by him. He telleth 
them aforehand, that the Son of man will come in great glory and 
majesty ; to daunt and quell the haughty minds and proud conceits of 
the potentates, oppressors, and great ones of the earth, who often abuse 
their power to wrong and violence : Eccles. v. 8, If thou seest the 
oppression of the poor, and the violent perverting of judgment and 
justice in a province, marvel not at the matter ; for he that is higher 
than the highest regardeth, and there be higher than they. Here is 
swaying and swaggering, and bearing high upon the thought of their 
title and greatness ; but there they and all their greatness and power 
shall meet with a judge that is able by the breath of his mouth to 
consume them. What meaneth the insolency of the mighty, the pride 
of the great heroes of the earth, that swell and grow haughty with their 
greatness, to look and speak so big ? Nothing is so profitable to allay 
the excesses of power, or to fortify us against the fears of it, as the 
consideration of this mighty judge, who will review all matters, and 
cause the great men of the earth to tremble. Power is an unwieldy 
thing, apt to degenerate, and to put men upon unwarrantable prac 
tices ; therefore, it needeth to be allayed and balanced with the con 
sideration of a greater power. Alas ! all the power and glory of the 
world is but a fancy, a vain pageantry, compared to Christ s power 
and glory. What is their authority to his, their splendour to his, their 
guard to his? Nothing can excuse them; this judgment must and 
shall pass upon them. 

3. For the comfort of his people ; for Christ is a pledge and pattern 
of what shall be done in them ; in all things he must first it, Kom. 
viii. 29 ; and we are made conformable to his image and likeness. All 
privileges come to us not only from Christ but through Christ : he as 
mediator is the first possessor. Are we elected ? he was elected first : 
My elect servant, Isa. xlii. 1. Are we justified? so was he as our 
surety : 1 Tim. iii. 16, Justified in the Spirit/ Are we sanctified ? 
first he received the Spirit of holiness. Are we glorified ? so was he : 
Col. iii. 4, When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall appear 
with him in glory ; 1 John iii. 2, We shall be like him, for we shall 
see him as he is/ There will be a manifestation of the sons of God, 
Kom. viii. 19 ; first the first-born, then all the rest of the brethren. 
Yea, we participate of his judicial power: the saints shall not only be 
judged, but the judges, 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3. The evil spirits a long time 


ago had their punishment, but then their solemn doom. The saints 
shall sit down with him as justices upon the bench. Here the saints 
judge the world by their doctrine and conversation, there by their vote- 
and suffrage. There is the relation between Christ and the church of 
wife and husband ; uxor fidget radiis mariti ; as the husband riseth 
in honour so doth the wife : of head and members, when the head is 
crowned all the members are clothed with honour. His mystical body 
shares with him, that there may be a proportion in the body. He is 
the captain of our salvation, and he will dignify and reward his soldiers, 
Heb. ii. 10. David, when he was crowned at Hebron, his followers 
were made captains of thousands, captains of hundreds, and captains of 
fifties. Masters and servants : My servant shall be where I am/ He 
will put marks of honour and favour upon all his servants. Here they 
were disgraced with him, suffered with him, slighted with him ; then 
they shall be glorified with him, for still there is a likeness. We must 
be contented to lie hid till he be publicly manifested to the world, for 
we have all our blessings at secondhand. So much for the first thing, 
his personal glory. 

Secondly, His royal attendance, And all the holy angels with him/ 
Chrysostom saith the whole court of heaven removeth with him ; 
surely there are many of them : Jude 14, The Lord cometh with ten 
thousand of his saints to execute judgment on all, to convince all that 
are ungodly/ It is likely these angels will put on some visible shape, 
for the greater glory and majesty of Christ s appearing; for as he will 
appear in a body upon his glorious throne, so will his legions round 
about him ; whose order, power, and formidable hosts must some way 
or other be seen of the wicked for their greater terror. Their attend 
ance upon Christ seemeth to be for these reasons : 

1. Partly for a train, to make his appearance the more full of 
majesty. We find angels waiting upon Christ at his ascension, and 
so at his return to judgment. Public ministers of justice are made 
formidable by their attendance, and Christ will come as a royal king 
in the midst of his nobles. And 

2. Partly that by their ministry the work of the day may be the more 
speedily and powerfully despatched. They are to gather the elect 
from the four winds, Mat. xxiv. 31. The angels that carried their 
souls to heaven shall be employed in bringing their bodies out of the 
graves : Luke xvi. 22, Carried by angels into Abraham s bosom/ 
They are still serviceable about the saints ; this is the last office they 
perform to them ; they are as it were, under Christ, guardians of their 
bones and dust. Now, to the wicked, they are to bind the tares in 
bundles, Mat. xiii. 41, that they may be burnt in the fire. They force 
and present wicked men before the judge, be they never so obstinate. 
They are witnesses ; they attend upon congregations, 1 Cor. xi. 10. In 
assemblies there is more company meets than is visible ; devils and 
angels meet there ; the devils to divert your minds as soon as they 
begin to be serious, to catch the good word out of your heart ; and 
angels observing you ; here should be no indecency. So in your ordi 
nary conversations they are conversant about you. And then for 
execution, no sooner is sentence pronounced but executed ; as Haman s 
face was covered, and he led away to execution as soon as the king 


had but said the word. Thus the scripture, in a condescension to our 
capacity, representeth to us the ministry of angels in that great and 
terrible day. We can. better understand the operations of angels than 
of God himself ; they being nearer to us in being, and of an essence 
finite and limited, their acts are more comprehensible. 

3. There may be a third reason imagined why the angels should 
come to this judgment, which will give us an occasion for handling a 
question, Whether they shall be judged, yea or no ? 

I answer For the good angels, I think not ; for the bad, the scrip 
ture is express and plain. 

[1.] For the good angels, it is clear, by what hath been said already, 
that they shall be present at this action, not to be judged, but to bring 
others to judgment ; as officers, not as parties. I suppose this, if men 
had continued in their innocency and integrity of their creation, such 
a day of universal judgment had been needless, for then there had 
been none to be condemned, because none had sinned ; the covenant of 
God would have been enough to have secured their happiness : so the 
good angels continuing in that state wherein they were created, there 
is nothing doubtful about them that needeth any judiciary debate and 
discussion ; and being already confirmed in the full fruition of God 
and happiness as to their whole nature, their estate is not to be put to 
any trial : whereas good men, though their souls be in heaven, yet 
their bodies are not admitted there ; some part of them as yet lieth 
under the effects of sin, and their glorification is private, and God s 
goodness as yet hath not been manifested to them in the eyes of all the 
world, nor their uprightness sufficiently vindicated; therefore a judg 
ment needeth for them, but not for the angels, who were never as yet 
censured and traduced in the world, and they in their whole nature 
and person enjoy most absolute felicity in God s heavenly sanctuary : 
no such great change will happen to them after the judgment as 
happeneth to the saints when their whole persons are taken into glory. 
It is true they have a charge and ministry about the saints, Heb. i. 14 ; 
but of that ministry and charge they give an account daily in the sight 
of God, to whom they do approve themselves in it ; so that there is no 
cause for further inquisition concerning that thing, there being no neces 
sity of judgment concerning them ; I think they shall not be judged. 

[2.] For the evil angels, the scripture is express: 1 Cor. vi. 3, 
Know ye not that we shall judge angels ? that is, as evil men, so evil 
angels. So 2 Peter ii. 4, God spared not the angels that sinned, but 
cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to 
be reserved to the judgment of the great day/ Though they are im 
prisoned in the pit of hell, yet reserved for further judgments. God s 
irresistible power and terrible justice overruleth, tormenteth, and 
restraineth them for the present. Thelse are the chains of darkness ; 
yet there is a more high measure of wrath that shall light upon them 
at the day of judgment. Where any accession or considerable increase 
shall be made either to the happiness or punishment of any creature, 
there that creature shall be judged. Now, there is no such consider 
able alteration or increase of happiness to good angels as to men ; and 
on the other side, there is a considerable alteration as to wicked angels : 
Mat. viii. 20, Art thou come to torment us before the time? They 


know there is a time coming when they shall be tormented more than 
they are yet. And besides, God s justice was never publicly manifested, 
and by any solemn act glorified, as to the punishment of the evil 
angels for their rebellion against him, but was reserved for this time. 
Besides, as God would now receive into glory the good and holy among 
men, and therefore would first begin with their head, which is Christ, 
sending him in power and great glory, so, on the other side, when God 
would punish the disobedient, he would begin with condemning their 
head, who is the devil, and is first cast into hell as a pledge of what 
should light upon all those that follow him, and are seduced by him. 
I could say more, but I forbear. 

Thirdly, There remaineth one circumstance in the text, and that is, 
Christ s throne of glory ; which, because it is wholly to come, and not 
elsewhere explained in scripture, we must rest in the general expres 
sion. The cloud in which he cometh possibly shall be his throne ; or, 
if you will have it further explained, you may take that of the prophecy 
of Daniel, chap. vii. 9, 10, I beheld all the thrones were cast down, 
and the ancient of days did sit ; whose raiment was white as snow, and 
the hair of his head like the pure wool : his throne was like the fiery 
flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued, and 
came forth from him : thousands ministered unto him, and ten thou 
sand times ten thousand stood before him. The judgment was set, and 
the books were opened. I cannot say this prophecy is intended of the 
day of judgment ; but as they said of the blind man, John ix. 9, 
Either it is he, or it is very like him/ so this is it, or very like it. 
And in the general you see it describeth that which is very glorious. 
Or you may conceive of it by the description of Solomon s throne : 1 
Kings x. 18-20, Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory, and 
overlaid it with the best gold : the throne had six steps, and the top 
of the throne was round behind ; and there were stays on either side 
of the place of the seat, and two lions stood behind the stays : and 
twelve lions stood on the one side, and on the other, upon the six 
steps : there was not the like made in any kingdom/ It was high 
and dreadful, but not worthy to be a footstool to this tribunal. 

The Use of all is exhortation. To press you to propound this truth 
(1.) To your faith ; (2.) To your fear and caution ; (3.) To your 
love ; (4.) To your patience ; (5.) To your hope. That all these graces 
may be the more exercised upon this occasion, that you may believe it, 
and consider it 

1. Propound it to your faith; be persuaded of it. We are so 
occupied in present things, that we forget or do not mind the future ; 
and men that are in love with their lusts and errors love to be ignorant 
of those truths, the knowledge whereof might disquiet them in follow 
ing those lusts : 2 Peter iii. 5, This they are willingly ignorant of. 
But we had need to call upon you again and again to believe these 
things, that the Lord Jesus shall come in his glory with his angels. 
They that are slaves to their lusts strongly desire an eternal enjoyment 
of the present world, and labour to banish out of their hearts the 
thoughts of the day of judgment. The sound belief of it is not so 
much encountered with doubts of the understanding, as the lusts and 
inclinations of their carnal and perverse hearts. But, beloved, I hope 


it will not be tedious to you to tell you again and again of these 
things, and to press you to rest your hearts upon them ; to you that 
have set your hearts to love Christ, and to wait for his coming ; to you 
that know there is no such powerful help to the mortification of your 
lusts as to consider the day of judgment, no such special encourage 
ment in your difficulties as the comfort, glory, and sweetness of it. Oh ! 
therefore, press your hearts with this truth : Hath not the mouth of 
truth averred it ? Would Jesus Christ assure us of that which shall 
never be ? He that hath been so punctual on his word in lesser 
truths, would he deceive us in this main article ? Sure it should be 
no hard thing to persuade you that are assured of his fidelity and love 
that what he hath spoken will come to pass. If it were not so, he 
would never have told you so. You will find no less than he hath 
promised. If we did deceive you with sugared and golden words, it 
were another matter. Expect not that I should bring arguments from 
nature to prove it to you : God s word is sufficient. Faith is built 
upon God s testimony, and nothing else. Though other arguments 
have their use, and at other times I have produced them, now I shall 
forbear : only, because there are godless mockers, who suspect all, and 
do not so much reason against this article of our Christian faith, as 
scoff at it, and you may meet with some of those, I think it not amiss 
to answer their cavils. A carnal and devilish wit will find out so 
many reasons, plausible to themselves and others like themselves ; 
otherwise it were enough to reject them as blasphemies with detesta 
tion. But, because they please themselves in their atheistical conceits, 
you shall see they make rather against them than for them. 

[1.] If they should urge that reason in the apostles days, when blas 
phemy was not grown so bold and witty : 2 Peter iii. 3, 4, All things 
continue as they were from the beginning of the creation ; we might 
answer, as, the apostle did, that it is fit that things should keep one 
constant course in the day of the Lord s patience and mercy ; but the 
day of the Lord will come as a thief. Shall there never be a change 
because the preparations are not presently visible ? This is a manifest 
lie. Particular judgments on some wicked men do prove that there 
shall be a general judgment on all ; for seeing some are justly punished, 
and others deserving no less are spared, he who is immutably good 
and impartially just must have a day for punishing these afterwards ; 
and God hath fire in store as well as water, to burn up as well as to 
drown the object of their lusts and pleasure. 

[2.] Their great argument is the blemish of providence in their eyes, 
the seeming neglect of the good, and evil done amongst men. I 
answer That will prove it which they bring to disprove it ; for the 
apostle telleth us, This is a manifest token of the righteous judgment 
of God/ 2 Thes. i. 5. What ! even the calamity of good men ? 
Solomon made another the quite contrary use of it : Eccles. iii. 16, 
17, Moreover, I saw the place of judgment, that wickedness was there ; 
and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there : I said in my 
heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked ; for there is a 
time for every purpose and for every work. The wicked prosper, and 
destroy the just. You make it an argument for your infidelity ; but 
it is an argument against it. Stay till the assizes come. It followeth 


not there is no government because the thief and murderer is not 
hanged as soon as he hath done the fact. God s day will come, and 
then they go to prison. When you see malefactors drinking, dancing, 
frolicking in prison, will you say, I see there is no government in this 
kingdom ? 

[3.] Many think this is a state-engine to keep the world in better 
order and government. But I answer Needeth there a lie to establish 
so great a benefit to mankind ? It cannot be. Doth interest or virtue 
govern the world ? If mere interest, what a confusion would there be 
of all things ? Then men might commit all villany, take away 
men s lives and goods at pleasure, when it is their interest, when 
they could do it safely and secretly ; then servants might poison their 
masters, if they could do it without discovery ; and we might prey 
one upon another if it were in the power of our hands, and so live 
like wild and ravenous beasts ; and by this rule, catch he that catch 
can here would be the best, and vice and impiety would be the greatest 
wisdom. But if virtue govern the world, it is a clear case virtue can 
not be supported without thoughts of the world to come ; and can we 
imagine that God would make a world that cannot be governed but by 
falsehood and deceit, as you suppose the opinion of judgment to come is ? 

2. Propound it to your fear and caution. Great ones, that are most 
powerful and unruly, there is a power above them : Jer. v. 5, I went 
to the great ones, that had altogether broken the yoke. They should 
tremble now at this glorious coming, to prevent trembling then, Ps. 
ii. 10-12. It is your wisdom to observe the Son, not to oppress his 
truth, interest, and people. Take heed of living in opposition to Christ : 
he will come in great power and great glory. If you neglect, if you 
stumble upon the rock you should build upon, and reject your own 
mercies, perish for want of a little care, you shall see the excellency of 
Christ, but have no benefit by it ; see the happiness of the saints with 
your eyes, but shall not taste thereof, 2 Kings vii. 19 ; as Haman was 
forced to be Mordecai s lacquey, and cry before him, Thus shall it be 
done to the man whom the king will honour. 

3. Propound it to your love, that you may long for it. The saints 
are described to be those that love his appearing, 2 Tim. iv. 8. And 
the apostle biddeth them hasten to the coming of the day of the Lord, 
2 Peter iii. 12. These will be days of refreshing to the saints. Send 
forth your wishes after it. The Spirit in the bride saith, Come, Kev. 
xxii. 17. Nature saith not, Come, but, Tarry still. If it might go 
by voices whether Christ should come, yea or no, would carnal men 
give their voice this way ? No ; the voice of corrupt nature is, Depart, 
Job xxii. 14. They are of the devils mind, cannot endure to hear of 
it, Mat. viii. 24. If malefactors were to choose whether there should 
be assizes, yea or no, there would never be none. But you, my beloved, 
should desire to see him whom you have heard so much of. When 
Christ took his leave of us, his heart was upon meeting and fellowship 
again, John xiv. 2. So should we be affected towards his appearing. 

4. Propound it to your patience, fortitude, and self-denial. Have 
no cause to think shame of Christ s service, though you suffer disgrace 
for it ; he will appear worthy of all the respect you show to his person 
and ways. He is disgraced indeed that is refused by Christ when he 

VERS. 32, 33.] SERMONS UPON MATTHEW xxv. 33 

cometh in great glory. The judgment of the blind world is not to be 
regarded. The Lord will show who are his condemned in the world 
on purpose to try you, though now you are accounted the scurf and 
offscouring of all things. I know it is a great temptation to persons 
of honour and quality ; but Christ suffered greater indignities : there 
fore let us resolve to be more vile for the Lord. Chiefly consider the 
glory reserved for us in the life to come, 1 John iii. 2. Then is the 
day of the manifestation of the sons of God. Christ is contented for 
a while to lie hid, and will not show himself in his full glory till the 
end of the world. In the days of his flesh his person was trampled 
upon by wicked men ; and now he is in heaven, he is despised in his 
cause and servants : his person is above abuse and contempt, but not 
his members. Christ came in disguise to try the world. Satan would 
not have had the boldness to encounter him, the Jews to reject him, 
carnal Christians to neglect him, nor the faith of the elect found to 
such praise and honour, if all were honourable, glorious, and safe here 
in the world. But the day of manifestation is hereafter. Let us be 
patient therefore, and bear all the harsh usage we meet with. There 
will be honour : When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall 
meet with him in glory. 

5. Propound it to your hope, and stand ready to meet with him and 
wait for him ; and comfort yourselves with the hopeful expectation, 
This will be when all things are ready. And you should look every 
day and long every day for his appearing. I have a Saviour in heaven, 
that will come again, with all his saints with him : Even so come, 
Lord Jesus, come quickly. 


And before him shall be gathered all nations ; and he shall separate 
them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the 
goats : and he shall set the slieep on his right hand, but the goats 
on the fc/. MAT. XXV. 32, 33. 

WE now come to the second general, the presenting the parties to be 
judged ; and there we have 

1. The congregation, and all nations shall be gathered before him. 

2. A segregation. 

[1.] As to company, he shall separate them one from another, as a 
shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. 

[2.] As to place and posture, and he shall set the sheep on the right 
hand, and the goats on the left. 

First, The congregation. All the dead shall rise, and being risen, 
shall be gathered together into one place or great rendezvous. Ac 
cording to the analogy of faith we may gather this point : 

Doct. That in the general judgment, all that have lived from the 
beginning of the world unto that day shall without exception, from 
the least to the greatest, appear before the tribunal of Christ. 

VOL. x. c 


This point will be best illustrated and set forth to you by consider 
ing the several distinctions of mankind. 

1. The most obvious distinction of mankind is of grown persons 
and infants ; and if all these are presented to the judgment, it will go 
far in the decision of the point that we have in hand. Grown persons 
are those whose life is continued to that age wherein they come to the 
full use of reason ; infants are those that die before they are in an ordinary 
way capable of the doctrine of life. Now for grown persons, the scrip 
ture is written purposely for them, and showeth that they shall be 
judged according to the dispensation they are under ; as to infants or 
lesser children, the case is more difficult and obscure. It is likely 
that all shall rise in the stature and condition of grown persons, that 
is to say, in such a state of body and mind as they may see and hear 
and understand the judge. When they were born, they were born 
with a rational soul, which though according to ordinary course lieth 
idle for a while, and doth not discover itself in any human and rational 
actions till the organs be fitted and matured, yet that it should be still 
buried in the body, and perpetually sleep, as being hindered by its 
organs or instruments of operation, reason will not permit us to con 
ceive, because it is contrary to its natural aptness and disposition, as 
also the end of its creation. We cannot conceive that God should 
form the spirit in man, which is immortal, in a body in vain and to 
no purpose ; therefore children shall rise again : we know God hath 
made a difference between infants. The scripture seemeth to extend 
the merit of Christ s death to his church, Eph. v. 26, 27 ; and that 
infants of believers are born members of the church is out of question. 
To be sure, the covenant taketh in our children together with us : 
Gen. xxii. 7, I am thy God, and the God of thy seed. And those 
that never lived to disinherit themselves of that blessing, we have no 
reason to trouble ourselves about them : God is their God, and knoweth 
how to instate them in the privileges of the covenant. Look, as we 
judge of the slip according to the stock upon which it groweth, till it 
live to bring forth fruit of its own, so we judge of children according 
to the parents covenant, till they come to years of discretion to choose 
their own way, and declare what have been God s counsels concerning 
them. The parents sprinkling the blood on the door-posts saved the 
whole family. It is very reasonable therefore to think that infants, 
born in the church, dying infants, obtain remission of original sin by 
Christ, whatever become of others ; for what reason have we to judge 
them that are without ? 1 Cor. v. 12. And if God vouchsafe some 
the remission of that sin which they have, out of his mercy and grace 
in Christ, they must in the resurrection be in that state, that they may 
enjoy eternal felicity. The sum of the whole matter is, that in this 
great congregation children shall appear as well as parents. But 
children, dying children, are reckoned to their parents as a part of 
them, or as an appendage and accession to them, whose condition is 
likely to be the same with theirs as to glorification and acceptance to life. 
And with the condition of others we meddle not, but leave them to God. 
The scripture is sparing of speaking of them to whom it speaketh not. 
God speaketh more fully to grown persons, as those with whom he 
dealeth and treateth in the gospel. He is not bound to give us an 

VEES. 32, 33.] SEKMONS UPON MATTHEW xxv. 35 

account how he will proceed with others ; yet for godly parents com 
fort, he hath more fully revealed his mind concerning their children 
than the children of infidels or wicked and open enemies to his truth. 
What he may do to them as to their original sin we cannot easily 
pronounce, as to their condemnation or absolution. Many allege, 
indeed, that they have an evil heart, and a nature that they would 
despise the gospel, if they had lived to receive the offer of it. I answer 
It is true they are by nature children of wrath, as all are, Eph. ii. 3 ; 
and the gospel telleth us who are the serpentine brood of a trans 
gressing stock ; but how far God may show grace to them we know 
not. But for what they would do afterwards, that can make no argu 
ment in this case ; for God being a most just and most equal judge, 
doth not judge his creature for what is possible and future, but only 
for things that are past and actually committed. He punisheth 
nothing but sins ; but things that are not, cannot be sins. We crush 
serpents for their venomous nature before they have actually done us 
any harm ; so may God destroy children ; but that he doth not always 
do it, plain experience manifesteth. 

2. The next distinction is of those whom Christ shall find dead or 
alive at his coming. Those that are dead shall be raised out of their 
graves, and have the spirit of life restored to them, that they may 
come to judgment. Those that are alive shall undergo a change like 
death: 1 Cor. xv. 51, We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be 
changed. These bodies, as thus qualified, cannot brook the state of 
the other world. Now, there will be found both good and bad alive at 
Christ s coming. If all the faithful were dead before, there would be 
some time when God would have no church upon earth. Now, it is 
foretold in the scriptures that the kingdom of Christ, which consists 
in the church, shall endure for ever, and that of his government there 
shall be no end ; as no intermission, so no interruption. That there 
fore it may not be interrupted, some believers there must be, even in 
the very last times, by whom the kingdom of Christ may be continued 
in this world, and come to join with the other part of Christ s kingdom 
that is in the other world. Therefore the apostle telleth us, 1 Thes, 
iv. 16, 17, The dead in Christ shall rise first, and then we which are 
alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, 
and meet the Lord in the air ; and so for ever be with the Lord. On 
the other side, all the wicked shall not die ; for the man of sin is to be 
consumed with the brightness of his coming. Now, how shall the 
brightness of his coming consume him if he were already abolished, 
with all his adherents and followers ? 

3. The third distinction is of good and bad. Both sorts shall come 
to receive their sentence ; only the one come to the judgment of con 
demnation, the other to the judgment of absolution : John v. 28, 29, 
They which are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth ; 
they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that 
have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation/ The word is 
clear in this point, that both the godly and wicked shall live again, 
that they may receive a full recompense according to their ways. 
None of the godly will be lost, but shall all meet in that general 
assembly ; nor shall any of the wicked shift or shun this day of appear- 


ance, but both shall at the call of Christ be brought before his judg 
ment-seat; the godly rejoicing to meet their Kedeemer, and the wicked 
forced into the presence of their judge, who could otherwise wish that 
hills and mountains might cover them. So Acts xxiv. 15, I believe 
the resurrection of the just and unjust ; not cequabiliter boni ; for 
Mat. v. 45, He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, 
and sendeth his rain upon the just and unjust. Let us answer some 
places for the good: John iii. 18, He that believeth in him, ov Kpiverai, is 
not j udged ; that is, with the j udgment of condemnation ; so we render it ; 
and et9 Kpiaiv OVK epxerai : John v. 24, He that believeth on him shall 
not come into condemnation/ Yet for absolution they come. On the 
other side, some of the ancients denied the wicked s entering into judg 
ment: Ps. i. 5, The ungodly shall not stand in judgment (the latter 
clause expounds it), nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous/ 
This is the great bridle upon the wicked when they are serious ; they 
fear more the resurrection from the dead than death itself. 

4. The next distinction of men whom Christ shall judge are be 
lievers and unbelievers. To believers we reckon all those that lived 
not only in the clear sunshine of the gospel, but those also to whom 
the object of faith was but more obscurely propounded ; to those that 
lived before the flood and after the flood, as well as those that lived in 
Christ s time, and after the pouring out of the Spirit. Abel and 
Enoch and Noah are mentioned in the chronicle and history of faith, 
Heb xi., as well as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and believers of a 
later stamp and edition. And among unbelievers are reckoned all 
those that through their own obstinate incredulity rejected the divine 
revelation made to them, as well those that neglected the great salva 
tion spoken by the Lord himself, as the world of ungodly in Noah s 
time, 1 Peter iii. 20, who were disobedient when Noah preached 
righteousness to them, or laid open the way of life and salvation to 
them. Indeed, it concerneth most those that have the gospel clearly 
preached to them, but others are not excused. In short, this distinction 
will bring in several ranks of men. 

[1.] Some that have heard of Christ, and of the grace of God dis 
pensed by him. These shall be judged by the gospel tenor and 
dispensation, which clearly sets forth all men to be sinners, and there 
fore to have deserved eternal death ; and that there is no name under 
heaven whereby men can be saved, but by the name of Jesus/ Acts 
iv. 12. And the great question propounded to them is, whether they 
have believed in Christ, yea or no ? Mark xvi. 16, They that believe 
not shall be damned/ They are condemned upon a double account 
partly by the law, and partly by the gospel. Partly by the law, be 
cause they, being under the wrath and curse of God, would not em 
brace the remedy. Besides, the sentence of the law standeth in full 
force against a man if he cometh not to Christ to get it repealed : John 
iii. 18, He that believeth not is condemned already; and the sentence 
is ratified in the gospel : John iii. 36, He that believeth not the Son 
shall not see life, but the wrath of God abide th on him/ To their 
other sins they added unbelief, which is a heinous crime ; yea, the great 
damning sin, 1 John v. 10. Those that say they believe are to prove 
the truth of their faith by the power it hath upon their hearts and 


practice, James ii. 6-8, Rev. xx. 21 ; if that hath drawn off their 
hearts from worldly vanities and fleshly lusts, and engaged them to 
live unto God -in the new and heavenly life. 

[2.] All that have heard of Christ have not the gospel alike clearly 
made known unto them. To some he is preached clearly and purely, 
and without any mixture of errors that have any considerable influence 
upon the main of religion. Others are in that communion in which 
those doctrines are as yet taught that are indeed necessary to salva 
tion, but many things are added which are indeed pernicious and 
dangerous in their own nature ; so that if a man should possibly 
be saved in that profession, he is saved as by fire/ 1 Cor. iii. 13. 
And it is a strange escape; as if one had poison mingled among 
his meat, the goodness of his digestion and strength of nature might 
work it out, but the man runneth a great hazard. As the Papists 
acknowledge Christ for the redeemer and mediator between God and 
men ; they own his two natures and satisfaction, though they mingle 
doctrines that strangely weaken these foundations. The Turks deny 
not Christ to be a great prophet, but they deny him to be the Son of 
God and the Saviour of the world, and the Eedeemer of mankind, and 
wickedly prefer their false prophet before him. The Jews confess 
there was a Jesus the son of Mary, that gave out himself in their 
country of Judea to be the Messiah, and gathered disciples, who from 
him are called Christians ; but they call him an impostor, question all 
the miracles done by him, as done by the power of the devil. Now, 
all these shall be judged by the gospel, which is so proudly and obsti 
nately rejected by them : The Spirit shall convince the world of sin, 
because they believe not in me/ John xvi. 9. He hath so proved 
himself to be the Christ, the Son of God, the great prophet, and true 
Messiah, that their rejecting and not believing in him and his testi 
mony will be found to be a great and damning sin, both in itself and 
as it bindeth their other sins upon them ; however, their judgment 
shall be lighter or heavier, according to the diversity of their offence, 
and the invincible prejudices they lie under. The corrupters of the 
Christian religion, because they have perverted the truth of the gospel 
to serve their interests (ambition, avarice, or any human passion), 
their doom will be exceeding great : 2 Thes. ii. 10-12, And with all 
deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish ; because they 
received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for 
this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they should 
believe a lie : that they all might be damned, who believed not the 
truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. To poison fountains was 
the highest way of murder; to royle the waters of the sanctuary, 
to mangle Christ s ordinances, is a crime of a high nature. The Jews 
that rejected Christ in so clear light of miracles, John viii. 24, Christ 
saith, If you believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins ; it 
maketh the judgment the more heavy upon them. Others to whom 
Christ is less perspicuously revealed shall have a more tolerable judg 
ment ; for the clearer the revelation of the truth is, the more culpable 
is the rejection or contempt of it. For there is no man that heareth 
of Christ s coming into the world, suffering for sinners, and rising again 
from the dead, and ascending into heaven, but is bound more diligently 


to inquire into it, and to receive and embrace this truth. Carnal chris- 
tians, their profession condemneth them ; they are inexcusable ; they 
deny in works what in word they seem to acknowledge. 

[3.] Some lived under the legal administration of the covenant of 
grace, to whom two things are propounded : (1.) The duty of the 
law ; (2.) Some strictures and obscure beginnings of the gospel. They 
shall be judged according to that administration they are under ; either 
for violating the law, or neglecting the gospel, or those first dawnings 
of grace which God offered to their view and study. Indeed the law 
was more manifest, but the gospel was not so obscure but they might 
have understood it. Therefore God will call them to an account about 
keeping his law, by which who can be justified ? Or whether by true 
repentance they have fled to the mercy of God, which by divers ways 
was then revealed to them, and have owned the Messiah in his types ? 
Ps. cxliii. 2, Enter not into judgment with thy servant ; for in thy 
sight shall no man living be justified ; Ps. cxxx. 3, 4, If thou shouldst 
mark iniquities, Lord, who shall stand ? But there is forgiveness 
with thee, that thou mayest be feared. Which, if not clear, they shall 
be condemned not only for not keeping the law, but also for neglect of 
grace. Though their unbelief and impenitency be not so, odious as 
theirs is that lived under a clearer revelation, yet a grievous sin it was, 
which will bring judgment upon them. 

[4.] There are some that have no other discovery of God but what 
they could make from the courses of nature and some instincts of con 
science, as mere pagans. The apostle having told us of the righteous 
judgment of God, Rom. ii. 5, and how managed, ver. 6-8, and how 
aggravated, the Jew first, and then the Gentile ; he then concludeth, 
ver. 12, For as many as have sinned without the law, shall perish 
without the law; but as many as have sinned in the law, shall be 
judged by the law ; that is, the Jews, as the other is to be understood 
of the Gentiles, to whose notice no fame of Christ or the law of Moses 
could possibly come. To perish without the law is to be punished, 
and punishment followeth upon condemnation, and condemnation is in 
this judgment. Therefore pagans and heathens, that lived most remote 
from the tidings of the gospel and divine revelation, must appear before 
Christ s tribunal to be judged. But by what rule ? He telleth us, 
ver. 14, 15, For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by 
nature the things contained in the law ; these having not a law, are a 
law to themselves : which show the work of the law written upon their 
hearts ; their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the 
meanwhile accusing or excusing one another. They knew themselves 
to have sinned by that rule, by the natural knowledge of God, and 
some sense of their duty impressed upon their hearts ; nature itself 
told them what was well or ill done ; the law of nature taught them their 
duty, and had some affinity with the law of Moses ; and the course of 
God s providence taught that God was placable, which hath some 
affinity with these gospel rudiments and first strictures. Therefore 
the goodness and long-suffering of God should lead them to repentance, 
Kom. ii. 4. Surely, then, the impenitency of the Jews will meet with 
a heavy condemnation, according to the proportion of clearness in their 

VERS. 32, 33.] SERMONS UPON MATTHEW xxv. 39 

[5.] Men of all conditions, high and low, rich and poor, mighty and 
powerful, or weak and oppressed, kings, subjects : Eev. xx. 12, I saw 
the dead, both small and great, stand before God. No rank or degree 
in the world can exempt us. These distinctions do not outlive time ; 
they cease at the grave s mouth ; there all stand upon the same level, 
and are of the same mould. To bridle the excesses of power, the scrip 
ture often telleth us of the day of judgment, how the great men of the 
earth shall tremble, and the hearts of the powerful then be appalled, 
Eev. vi. 15-17. They shall then understand the distance between God 
and the creature, when his wrath and terror is in its perfection. Who 
can stand when he is angry ? Ps. Ixxvi. 7. It is a wonder men will 
live in a way of controversy with him, and are so little moved at it. 
No wrath so considerable as the wrath of the Lamb. When their 
mediator is their enemy, none in heaven or earth can befriend them. 
Those that, in the thoughts of men, are most secure, ringleaders to 
others in sin, that swear and swagger, and bear down all before them, 
and persist in their opposition to Christ with the greatest confidence, 
will be found the greatest and most desperate cowards then. Now 
these gallants ruffle it as if they would bid defiance to Christ and his 
ways. Oh ! how pusillanimous and fearful then ! Appear they must, 
though they cannot abide it. What torture do they endure between 
these two, the necessity of appearing, and the impossibility of endur 
ing ! Oh ! the great ones then would gladly change power 1 with the 
meanest saint. Then they know what an excellent thing it is to have 
the favour of God, and of what worth and value godliness is, and how 
much a good conscience exceedeth all the glory of the world, and what 
an advantage it is to have peace made with God. 

[6.] Not only some of all sorts, or of all nations, but every indi 
vidual person. In one place the apostle saith, All of us, collective, 
2 Cor. v. 10 ; in another place, distributive, l Every one of us, Kom. 
xiv. 12 ; not only all, but every one ; not all, shuffled together in gross, 
but every one, severally and apart, is to give an account of his ways 
and actions to God. 

Use. If these things be so, that all places shall give up their dead, 
and all those nations that differ so much one from another in tongues, 
rites, and customs of living, and distance of habitation, shall be 
gathered together into one place, and not left scattered up and down 
the world ; there are many ways to shift men s courts and tribunals 
(they may fly the country, or bribe the judge), but there is no shun 
ning the bar of Christ ; oh ! then, let the thought of this make 
us more watchful and serious. 

1. In this judgment there is no exemption ; for all are summoned, 
small and great ; and whether they will or no, they shall be gathered 
together. The faithful shall willingly come, as to absolution ; the 
wicked shall be violently haled, as to condemnation. 

2. There is no appearing by a proctor or attorney ; but every one in 
his own person must give an account of himself to God. 

3. No denying ; for the books shall be opened, Kev. xx. 12. 

4. No excusing or extenuating; for Christ will judge the world in 
righteousness, Acts xvii. 31, according to terms of strict justice. 

1 Qu. place ? ED. 


5. No appealing ; for this is the last judgment. No suing out of 
pardon, or no time of showing favour ; for this is too late ; the day of 
grace is past ; sinners are in iermino; their work is over, and now 
come to receive their wages. Oh ! then, now let us take care that this 
day may be comfortable to us. God s children have more cause to 
look and long for it than to dread it. 

Secondly, We now come to the segregation ; and there 
First, as to company, He shall separate them one from another, as 
the shepherd divideth between the sheep and the goats. In these 
words there is 

1. A point intimated and implied, that Christ is represented as a 
shepherd and the godly as sheep, but the wicked as goats. 

2. There is a second point expressed, that though there be a con 
fusion of the godly and wicked now, yet at the day of judgment there 
will be a perfect separation. 

For the first of these, that Christ is represented to us under the 
notion of a shepherd, so he is called, Zech. xiii. 7, Awake, sword, 
against my shepherd : I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall 
be scattered ; and 1 Peter ii. 25, But are now returned to the shep 
herd and bishop of your souls. 

1. A shepherd among men is one that is not lord of the flock, but a 
servant to take care of them and charge of them. This holdeth good 
of Christ as mediator ; for he is God s elect servant, the servant of his 
decrees : the flock are his, not in point of dominion, right, and original 
interest, but in point of trust and charge. So Christ is lord of the 
faithful as God ; but as mediator he hath an office and service about 
them, and is to give an account of them to God, when he bringeth 
them home, and leadeth them into their everlasting fold, John vi. 
37-40, with 1 Cor. xv. 24, 25 ; Heb. ii. 13, Behold I and the children 
which God hath given me ; Jude 24, Now unto him that is able to 
keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence 
of his glory ; and Col. i. 22, To present you holy, and unblamable, 
and unreprovable in his sight. 

2. The work of the shepherd is to keep the flock from straying, to 
choose fit pasture and good lair for them ; yea, not only to fodder the 
sheep, but to drive away the wolf. To defend the flock is a part of 
his office ; as David fought with the lion and the bear, and slew them 
for the flock s sake. All these concur in Christ, as you may see, Ps. 
xxiii. 1-4, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh 
me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still 
waters. Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. There is guarding, 
and feeding, and defending. So John x., there is leading, ver. 3, 4 ; then 
there is feeding them, ver. 9 ; and defending them, ver. 12, 27-29. 

3. Christ is not an ordinary shepherd : he is 6 Troifirjv 6 /caXo?, The 
good shepherd, John x. 11 ; and Heb. xiii. 20, TroL^eva TWV 7rpo/3dra)v 
rov fj,eyav, The great shepherd of the sheep ; and 1 Peter v. 4, 
ap^i7roi/jievo<f, The chief shepherd; When the chief shepherd shall 
appear/ &c. 

[1.] He is the good shepherd. Other shepherds are said to be good 
when they perform their office well, or quit themselves faithfully in 
the discharge of their trust. But besides the resemblance in these 

VERS. 32, 33.] SERMONS UPON MATTHEW xxv. 41 

qualities, there are certain singularities in Christ s office that denomi 
nate him the good shepherd. 

(1.) A good shepherd is known by his care and vigilance; if he 
know the state of his flock, Prov. xxvii. 23. This resemblance holdeth 
good in Christ : he hath a particular care and inspection of every soul 
that belongeth to his flock : Calleth his sheep by name, John x. 3. 
He hath a particular exact knowledge of every one of them, their per 
sons, their state, their condition, their place, their country, their con 
flicts, temptations, and diseases: 2 Tim. ii. 19, The Lord knoweth 
who are his ; John xiii. 18, I know whom I have chosen. Though 
there be so many thousands of them scattered up and down in the 
world, yet he is acquainted with every individual person, every single 
believer, and all their necessities; John, James, Thomas. As the 
high priest carried the names of the tribes upon his bosom, so hath 
Christ the names of every one that belongeth to God s flock engraven 
upon his heart, though they may be despicable in the world, mean 
servants, employed in the lower offices of the family : Ps. xxxiv. 6, 
This poor man cried unto the Lord. Poor soul ! he lieth under such 
temptations, encumbered with such troubles, employed in such a hard 
task and service : My Father gave me a charge of him ; I must look 
to him. Luke xv. we read, that when one was missing, he left all to 
look after the stray lamb. His knowledge is infinite. 

( 2.) The goodness of a shepherd lieth in his pity and wisdom to deal 
tenderly with the flock as their state doth require ; so is Christ a good 
shepherd by reason of his tender respect and gentle conduct : Isa. 
xl. 11, He shall feed his flock like a shepherd ; he shall gather the 
lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom ; and shall gently 
lead those that are with young. He guideth his people with dispen 
sations suitable to them. In his lifetime he taught them, /ea#&>? 
rfcvvavTo UKOVCIV, He spake the word unto them as they were able 
to hear it/ Mark iv. 33 ; as Jacob drove as the little ones and cattle 
were able to bear, Gen. xxxiii. 14. He calleth to work and suffering 
according as he giveth grace and strength, 1 Cor. x. 13. Proper- 
tioneth their temptations according to their growth and experience. He 
sendeth great trials after large assurances, Heb. x. 32. As castles are 
victualled before they are suffered to be besieged. There is a sweet con 
descension in all his dispensations to every one s state and condition. 

(3.) The goodness of a shepherd lieth in a constant performing all 
parts of a shepherd to them : Ezek. xxxiv. 15, 16, I will seek that 
which was lost, bring back that which was driven away, bind up that 
which was broken, strengthen that which was sick : but I will destroy 
the fat and the strong, and feed them with judgment. There is all 
necessary attendance and accommodation conducing to the safety and 
welfare of the flock ; to protect them from violence from without, to 
prevent diseases within, to keep them from straying by the inspirations 
of his Spirit and the fence of his providence ( Blessed be God, that 
sent thee to meet me this day, saith holy David), and to reclaim and 
reduce them when strayed. It were endless to instance in all. 

(4.) There is this particularity in this good shepherd, of which there 
is no resemblance found in others: John x. 11, I am the good shep 
herd, that giveth my life for the sheep/ He doth not only give life to 


them, but his own life for them, by way of ransom. This is a flock 
purchased by the blood of God, Acts xx. 28. He came from heaven 
to find out lost sheep ; left a palace for the wilderness, and the throne 
for the fold. David was called from the sheep-hook to the sceptre ; 
but Christ from the sceptre to the sheep-hook. Lost man had never 
been found if Christ had not come from heaven to seek him. We were 
forfeited, and therefore to be ransomed ; and no price would serve but 
Christ s own blood. 

(5.) There is this peculiar in this good shepherd, that he maketh us 
become the flock of his pasture, and sheep of his fold, Ps. c. 3. When 
other shepherds have the sheep delivered into their hands, he searcheth 
up and down for them in the woods and deserts ; wherever they are 
scattered abroad, a lamb here and a lamb there ; free grace findeth 
them out : Ezek. xxxiv. 4, I will search out my sheep, and seek them 
out ; Zeph. iii. 10, I will look after my dispersed from beyond the 
river of Ethiopia. In the farthermost and unknown countries in 
every land, Christ knoweth where his work lieth, though it may be 
but one in a village, in the midst of wolves and swine. He maketh 
them to be what they are not by nature ; turneth and changeth swine 
into sheep and wolves into lambs. 

[2.] He is the great shepherd. (1.) Great in his person, the Son of 
God. Dominus exercituum fit pastor oviiim, saith Bernard the Lord 
of hosts is become the shepherd of the flock. He needed us not ; if he 
had delighted in multitudes of flocks and herds, there are ten thousand 
times ten thousand angels that stand about the throne. He needed 
not leave his throne and die for angels as for us. And (2.) He is great 
in regard of the excellency of his gifts and qualifications : he is king, 
priest, and prophet. In the pastoral relation he manifesteth all his 
offices; he feedeth them as a prophet, dieth for them as a priest, 
defendeth them as a king ; never sheep had better shepherd. Eedimit 
preciose, pascit caute, ducit solicite, collegit secure. Jacob was very 
careful, yet some of his flock were lost, or torn, or stolen, or driven 
away ; but it cannot be so with Christ s flock ; we are safe as long as 
he is upon the throne. (3.) Great in regard of his flock: he is the 
shepherd of souls ; millions of them are committed to his charge, and 
one soul is more worth than all the world. 

[3.] He is the chief shepherd. Though he doth employ the min 
istry of men to feed his flock under him, yet doth he keep the place 
and state of arch-shepherd and prince of pastors, as the chief ruler 
and feeder of his flock, from whom all the under-shepherds have 
their charge and commission, Mat. xxviii. 19, 20. their furniture and 
gifts, Eph. iv. 8, 11 ; upon whose concurrence dependeth the efficacy 
and blessing of the ordinances dispensed by them, 1 Cor. iii. 6, 7 ; and 
to him they give an account, Heb. xiii. 17, as he doth to God. Now 
this is a great comfort, that Christ taketh the prime charge of the flock. 
Some thrust in themselves, but he will require his flock at their hands. 

Use. Let all this encourage you to look for your supplies by Christ. 
He professeth by special office to take charge of you ; and you may be 
confident of his care and fidelity. Besides his love to the flock, he is 
bound as God s shepherd. By distrust you carry it so as if Christ were 
unfaithful in his charge and office. When you come to the ordinances, 

VEES. 32, 33.] SERMONS UPON MATTHEW xxv. 43 

you do directly cast yourselves upon Christ s pastoral care to feed you 
to everlasting life ; and he will give you strength and refreshing. Only 
be not lean in Christ s pasture, nor faint, as Hagar, near a fountain. 
Secondly, The godly are as sheep. 

1. Sheep are animalia gregalia, such kind of creatures as naturally 
gather themselves together and unite themselves in a flock. Other 
creatures we know, especially beasts of prey, live singly and apart ; but 
sheep are never well but when they come together and live in a flock. 
Such are Christians, and such as are partakers of a heavenly calling. It 
is unnatural for them to live alone : they feed in flocks, Heb. x. 25. 
Man by nature is >ov TroXiriicbv ; he hath a nature that is apt to 
make him gather into a community and society. We are social, not 
only upon interest, as weak without others, but upon natural inclina 
tion. We have a desire to dwell and live together, Eccles. iv. 10. 
The voice of nature saith, it is not good to be alone ; so it is true of 
the new nature ; there is -a spirit of communion that inclineth them to 
some other, and to join with them. 

2. Sheep, they are innocent and harmless creatures. They that 
belong to Christ are not bears and tigers and wolves, but sheep, that 
often receive harm, but do none, Christ was holy and harmless, Heb. 
vii. 26, and so are they. 

3. Sheep are obedient to the shepherd. The meek and obedient 
followers of Christ are like sheep in this, who are docile and sequa 
cious : John x. 4, He goeth before them, and they know his voice ; 
and ver. 16, Other sheep must I bring in also, and they shall hear 
my voice ; and ver. 27, My sheep hear my voice ; I know them, and 
they follow me. All Christ s comforts, 1 in all places and all ages, have 
the same properties and the same impression. 

4. They are poor dependent creatures. They are ever attendant on 
the shepherd, or the shepherd on them. 

[1.] Because of their erring property. They are creatures pliant to 
stray ; but being strayed, do not easily return. Swine will run about 
all day and find their way home at night. Domine, errare per me 
potui, redire non potuissem, saith Austin. Christ bringeth home the 
stray lamb upon his own shoulders, Luke xv. ; and Ps. cxix. 176, All 
we like sheep have gone astray. If God leave us to ourselves, we still 
shall do so. 

[2.] Because of their weakness. They are weak and shiftless crea 
tures, unable to make resistance. Other creatures are armed with 
policy, skill, or courage to safeguard themselves ; but sheep are able to 
do little for themselves ; they are wholly kept in dependence upon 
their shepherd for protection and provision. All their happiness lieth 
in the good wisdom, care, and power of the shepherd. Wolves, lions, 
and leopards need none to watch over them. Briars and thorns grow 
alone ; but the noble vine is a tender thing, and must be supported, 
pruned, and dressed. The higher the being the more necessitous, and 
the more kept in dependence. There needs more care to preserve a 
plant than a stone ; a stone can easily aggregate and gather moss to 
itself. There needeth more supplies for a beast than a plant, and more 
supplies to a man than to a beast. 

1 Qu. consorts ? ED. 


Thirdly, The wicked are as goats. They are as goats both for their 
unruliness and uncleanness. Unruliness: they have not the meek 
ness of sheep, are ready to break through all fence and restraint ; so a 
wicked man is yokeless. They are also wanton and loathsome ; it is 
a baser sort of animal than the sheep ; therefore chosen to set forth a 
wicked and ungodly man. 

The second point expressed is this, that though now there is a con 
fusion of godly and wicked, as of goats and sheep in the same field, 
yet then there shall be a perfect separation. 

There will not then be one of one sort in company with the other : 
Ps. 1. 5, He will gather his saints together ; and Ezek. xxxiv. 17, 
I will judge between cattle and cattle, the sheep and the goats ; 
Ps. i. 5, The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in 
the congregation of the righteous/ When the saints meet in a general 
assembly, not one bad shall be found among them. Though now they 
live together in the same kingdom, in the same village, in the same 
visible church, in the same family, yet then a perfect separation. 

The reasons are briefly these two (1.) The judge s wisdom and 
perspicuity ; (2.) His justice. They that will not endure them now 
shall not then abide with them in the same fellowship. 

Use 1. Here is comfort to them that mourn under the degenerate 
and corrupted state of Christianity. The good and the bad are mixed 
together ; many times they live in the same herd and flock. It is a 
trouble to the godly that all are not as they are ; and we feel the incon- 
veniency, for the carnal seed will malign the spiritual, Gal. iv. 29. 
But God will distinguish between cattle and cattle. Discipline indeed 
is required in the church to keep the sound from being infected, and 
the neglect of it is matter of grief. But the work is never perfectly 
done till then ; then there is a perfect separation, and a perpetual 
separation, never to mix more. 

Use 2. This may serve to alarm hypocrites. Many hide the matter 
from the world and themselves, but Christ shall perfectly discover 
them, and bring them to light, and show themselves to themselves 
and all the world. All their shifts will not serve the turn. Here are 
mixed together the sheep and the goats, the chaff and the solid grain, 
tares and wheat, thorns and roses, vessels of honour and dishonour. 
Many do halt between God and Baal. A man cannot say, They are 
sheep or goats ; neither do they themselves know it. Therefore it 
calleth upon us to make our estate more explicit. Yea, many that 
seemed sheep shall be found goats. Then it will appear whether they 
are regenerated to the image of Christ, or destitute of the spirit of 
sanctitication, yea or no ; whether they loved God above all, or con 
tinued serving the flesh, making it their end and scope. 

Use 3. Are we sheep or goats? There is no neutral or middle 
estate. Is there a sensible distinction between us and others ? Then 
we shall have the fruit and comfort of it at that day : 1 Peter ii. 25, 
Ye were as sheep going astray ; but now are returned to the bishop 
and shepherd of your souls. We all should look back upon our former 
courses, betaking ourselves to Jesus Christ, seeking to enjoy his favour 
and fellowship, submitting to him as our ruler and guide, resigning 
up ourselves to be at his disposal, both for condition of life and choice 


of way and course. I say, when by his powerful grace we are thus 
brought back from our sinful way and course, and made to follow him 
as our Lord, we are his flock, and he will mind us. Time was when 
you did run wild, according to your former fancies and the bent of 
your unruly hearts, and were wholly strangers to God, and could 
spend days, nights, and weeks, and months, and yet never mind com 
munion with him ; but now the business of your souls is to give up 
yourselves to him, or take the way which he hath prescribed to ever 
lasting glory. Eesolve no longer to live to yourselves, but to be under 
his discipline. 

Secondly, As to place, He shall set the sheep upon the right hand, 
and the goats upon the left. 

In the right hand there is greater strength and ability, and fitness 
for all kind of operations ; therefore that place is counted more 
honourable. So Christ himself is said to sit down at the right hand 
of God the Father ; that is to say, hath obtained the highest place 
of dignity and power, above all angels and men, in bliss, honour, and 

Doct. The godly shall be placed honourably at the day of judgment, 
when the wicked shall have the place of least respect. 

A type and figure of this we have in Moses his division of the 
tribes. Some were to stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, 
some on Mount Ebal to curse ; those born of Jacob s wives put upon 
Mount Gerizim, those of his servants on Mount Ebal, Reuben ex- 
cepted, who went into his father s bed. The saints, in their measure, 
enjoy all the privileges that Christ doth. Now the Father saith to the 
Son, Ps. ex. 1, Sit thou at my right hand/ So they have chosen the 
best blessings. It is said, Ps. xvi. 11, At thy right hand are pleasures 
for evermore ; and Prov. iii. 16, Length of days is in her right 
hand. They love God, and are beloved of him ; they honour God in 
the world : 1 Sam. ii. 30, They that honour me I will honour. 

Use. Let us then encourage ourselves when we are counted the scurf 
and offscouring of all things. We shall not always be in this condi 
tion, but Christ will put honour upon us in sight of all the world. 


Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye 
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from 
the foundation of the world. MAT. XXV. 34. 

WE have considered in the former verses (1.) The sitting down of 
the judge; (2.) The presenting the parties to be judged. Now (3.) 
The sentence. 

First, Of absolution, in these blessed words which I have now read 
to you. Observe in them (1.) The preface ; (2.) The sentence itself. 

1. The preface showeth the person by whom the sentence is pro 
nounced, then shall the King say. 

2. The parties whom it concerneth, to them on the right hand. 


Secondly, The form and tenor of the sentence itself ; it is very 
comfortable and ravishing. Take notice 

1. Of a compilation used, ye blessed of my Father. 

2. An invitation, expressed in two words, SeOre, /cA^powj/i^o-are, 
come and inherit. 

The first giveth warning for entering ; the second, for possessing of 
this blessed estate, and that by a sure tenure. 

3. The happiness unto which we are invited ; and there the notion 
by which it is expressed, the kingdom. The adjunct, a kingdom 
prepared. The application of it to the parties concerned, for you. 
The ancientness of it, from the foundation of the world. An estate 
excellent in itself, and made sure for us. 

Doct. That Jesus Christ, at his coming, will adjudge his people 
unto a state of everlasting happiness, by a favourable and comfortable 
sentence passed in their behalf. 

First, Observe the order, then. The godly are first absolved, 
before the wicked are condemned. Why ? Because 

1. It is more natural to God to reward than to punish, to save than 
to condemn. The one is called alienum opus, his strange work, 
Isa. xxviii. 21. His self-inclination bendeth him to the one more 
than to the other. The absolution of the good maketh for the mani 
festation of his mercy, the attribute wherein God delighteth, Micah 
vii. 18. But his justice, as to the punitive part of it, it is last. God 
doth good of his own accord, but punishment is extorted and forced 
from him. 

2. It is suitable to Christ s love to begin with the saints. He is so 
pronely inclined to them, that he taketh their cause first in hand. He 
parted from them with thoughts of returning to them again. 

3. For the godly s sake, that they be not for any while terrified 
with that dreadful doom which shall pass on the reprobate ; and that 
afterwards become judges of the wicked, by their vote and suffrage, 
when absolved themselves, 1 Cor. vi. 3. 

4. For the wicked, that they may understand and be affected with 
their loss, and so be made more sensible of their own folly. Christ 
will, in their sight, put glory and honour upon his good servants, 
that they may have a stinging and vexatious sense of that happiness 
which they have forsaken. ^Vhether it be for this or that reason, let 
us the better bear it here. When judgment beginneth at the house of 
God, as it often doth, 1 Peter iv. 17, there absolution beginneth at the 
house of God ; and if upon us God first show his displeasure against 
sin, it is for the bettering of the saints, and reforming the world. 
First Christ will take in hand our absolution and coronation before he 
passeth sentence against the wicked. 

Secondly, The next thing observable is the title given to Christ, 
Then shall the King say/ Christ first calleth himself the Son of 
man, ver. 31, because in human nature he administereth this judg 
ment ; afterward sets forth himself by the notion of a shepherd, ver. 
32, because of his office and charge about the flock, and then to show 
it in the exact discrimination he shall make between cattle and cattle. 
But now the notion is varied, The King shall say. Partly because 
it belongeth to his kingly office to pass sentence, and prefer his faith- 


ful subjects to dignity and honour, as also to punish the disobedient. 
Partly because in that day he shall discover himself in all his royal 
magnificence, and call the godly to him, and solemnly put them in 
possession of the promised glory. The King shall crown and absolve 
us : it shall be a tribunal act ; and therefore valid and authentic. 
"When the Eedeemer of the world, as King, shall then sit in judgment 
in all his royalty, he shall then put this honour upon the saints. 

Thirdly, The next thing is 

1. The compellation used, Come, ye blessed of my Father. 

[1.] Observe in the general, it is a friendly compellation, used to such 
as were thought to be in favour with God. Witness Laban s words 
to Abraham s servant ; Gen. xxiv. 31, Come in, thou blessed of the 
Lord ; and Judges xvii. 2, Blessed be thou of the Lord. Those 
that were counted dear and beloved of the Lord were thus treated 
and spoken to. And because of the high favour vouchsafed to the 
Virgin Mary, in being the mother of the Son of God, it is said, All 
generations shall call thee blessed, Luke i. 28, 42, 48. But what an 
honour is this, when Christ shall pronounce us to be so with his own 
mouth : Come, ye blessed of my Father. 

[2.] More particularly, two terms must be explained (1.) Blessed; 
(2.) ; Of my Father/ 

First, Blessed. This term is 

(1.) Opposed to the world s judgment of them. The world de- 
spiseth them, and counteth them execrable, vile, and cursed. There 
fore it is said, Mat. v. 44, Bless them that curse you ; and Mat. v. 
11, Blessed are ye when men shall say all manner of evil of you for 
my name s sake. He is blessed whom Christ blesseth. The world 
rails at us as cursed miscreants, unfit to live in human societies. The 
world saith, Abite maledicti; Away, ye cursed ; it is not fit for such 
a one to live. But Christ saith, Venite benedicti, Come, ye blessed. 
We should set one against the other. The least thing intended in 
this compellation is an absolution from the reproaches of the world 
and their censures, whether rashly vented, or pronounced under a 
colour of law and church power. They are not so ready to curse and 
fulminate dreadful censures on the true worshippers of Christ as he is 
to acquit and absolve them. Their Kedeemer in judgment will call 
them blessed, and publish to the world that all the censures of wicked 
men were preposterous and perverse. 

(2.) The term i,s opposed to the sentence of the law. The world s 
obloquy is the less to be stood upon, as being the product of wrath, 
bitterness, and hatred. But the law of God, that containeth in it the 
highest reason in the world, pronounceth them accursed : Gal. iii. 10, 
Cursed is every one that continueth not in all that is written in the 
law to do them. And to this sentence we were once subject, and 
were so to look upon ourselves, Eph. ii. 3. Whatever we were in the 
purpose of God, our duty is to look upon what we are in the sentence 
of the law of God ; and so we were all of us condemned to a curse. 
And the wicked, that never changed copy and tenure, lie still under 
that curse ; as Christ himself showeth in his sentence on them, ver. 
41, Depart, ye cursed. The curse of the law taketh them by the 
throat, and casteth them into eternal torments. The devil would 


have that sentence executed upon us now, according to our deserts ; 
but the judge on the throne pronounceth us blessed, as having taken 
hold of the privilege of the new covenant, and so escaped the curse of 
the law. In this term our justification is implied, Acts iii. 19, Christ 
doth in effect say, These my friends and servants deserved in them 
selves to be accursed and miserable for ever, but I have made satisfac 
tion to God for them, and pronounce them blessed, and free from all 
sin and misery. 

(3.) The term is opposed to their own fears. Not only doth the 
world condemn us, and Satan urge the curse of the law against us, as 
having transgressed the bonds and rules of our duty in many cases, 
but our own trembling hearts are ever and anon casting up many a 
fearful thought : What shall become of us to all eternity ? This fear 
is so strong, and rooted in the hearts of the godly, that it is a long 
time ere the promises of the gospel can vanquish and quell it ; though 
the messengers of Christ come and tell them of the tender mercies of 
God, that there is enough in the merits of Christ, of the privileges 
and immunities offered by the new covenant, and beseech them that 
they would not obstinately lift up their fears against the whole design 
of Christ in the gospel, yet all will not do : if they can get a little 
peace and rest from accusations of conscience, it is almost all they can 
attain unto in the world : Perfect love casteth out fear, 1 John iv. 
10. But then the supreme judge, before whom all must stand or fall, 
will assure them with his own mouth that they are blessed ; and 
therefore they shall fully get rid of all disquieting and tormenting 
fears. He shall say, Tremble no more ; Come, ye blessed of my 

(4.) It noteth what God hath done for them to bring them to this 
estate of blessedness : Eph. i. 3, Blessed be God and the Father of 
our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with spiritual blessings in 
heavenly places in Christ. He hath loved them, and enriched them 
with grace, heaped many spiritual favours upon them, which now they 
are to receive the consummation and accomplishment of. Dei benedi- 
cere est benefacere when we bless God, we declare him blessed ; 
when God blesseth us, he maketh us blessed ; his saying is doing. 
Since ye are elected, called, justified, sanctified, at the will of my 
Father, come and freely possess yourselves of all that you have hoped, 
longed, and waited for. 

Secondly, Of my Father. 

(1.) In this expression he pointeth at the fountain cause of all our 
happiness ; the beginning of our salvation was from a higher cause 
than our own holiness, yea, than Christ s merit, from the favour and 
blessing of God the Father. He was the principal efficient cause and 
ultimate end of the work of our redemption and the saints blessed 
ness. Christ as mediator is but the way to the Father, John xiv. 6. 
It is the Father appointed Christ, gave him to us, John iii. 16, gave 
them to Christ, John xvii. 6, and in time brought them to close with 
his grace, John vi. 44. It is the Father that prepared this kingdom 
for them before the foundation of the world ; they are the Father s 
chosen ones, those whom the Father loveth. 

(2.) This expression shows how the divine persons glorify one 


another. As the Spirit glorifieth the Son, John xvi. 14, so here the 
Son glorifieth the Father, and referreth all to him ; he doth not say, 
My redeemed ones, but Ye blessed of my Father, they are not less 
beloved and blessed by the Father than by the Son who redeemed 
them; blessed in the Father s love who elected them, gave them to 
Christ, sent Christ and accepted his ransom, declared his will in 
willing their glorification. 

2. The invitation, in two words, Bevre, K\r)povofj,^crar ; both have 
their emphasis and proper signification : the one signifieth our en 
trance upon the glorified estate, the other our everlasting possession 
of it. 

[1.] JeOre, Come. To the wicked he saith Depart, but to the 
saints, Come. As the quintessence of all misery lieth in the one, 
so the consummation of all blessedness in the other. He had said 
before, Mat. xi. 28, Come to me all ye that are weary and heavy- 
laden, and I will give you rest; but that was but an acquaintance at 
a distance, and some remote service we were called unto. But now, 
Come into my heart, my bosom, my glory. Our nearest communion 
with Christ is not till we be translated into heaven. Come, draw near 
to me ; be not afraid of my majesty. This was it the saints longed 
for, and now they enjoy it : When shall I come and appear before 
God ? saith holy David, Ps. xlii. 2. You that had a heart upon my 
first invitation to come to me, and seek after me in the kingdom of 
grace, come near to me now in the kingdom of glory. The godly do 
not so much desire to come near to Christ, as Christ desireth to come 
near to them. Where have you been all this while ? Come, come ; I 
am ready to receive you ; you are welcome guests to me : we have been 
too long asunder. Oh ! how ravishing will this be to every gracious 
heart that loved and longed for this day ! 

[2.] K\r)povo/j,ri<raT, Inherit. Our happy and blessed estate we 
have and hold by inheritance : 1 Peter iii. 9, Ye are called to inherit 
a blessing/ That noteth a tenure free, full, and sure. This heritage 

(1.) Is free. We do not possess it as bondmen or servants only ; 
we do not come to this happiness by our own earning and purchase ; 
but as heirs of Christ. Adam s tenure was that of a servant ; the 
blessings he expected from God were mere wages. We hold promises, 
in another manner. Our title is by adoption, which we have imme 
diately upon closing with Christ, John i. 12, by virtue of our sonship, 
Born. viii. 17 ; not by merit, but free gift, Horn. vi. 23. 

(2.) A full tenure. As children under age differ but little from a 
servant ; but we come then as heirs to our full right. A child, though 
he be an heir, and owner of all his father s inheritance in hope, yet as 
long as he is a minor, or under age, he differeth little or nothing from 
a servant in point of subjection, and as to free government and enjoy 
ment of his rights and goods. But now, to this inheritance we come 
as meet heirs. They distinguish of jus hereditarium, and jus 
aptitudinale an hereditary right and an aptitudinal right. Now, 
when we have believed, suffered, and been exercised enough, we shall 
receive our full inheritance, being made meet for it, Col. i. 12. 

(3.) A sure title. It was given us by the Father, and purchased by 
the Son ; and we hold it by this tenure for ever. God the Father gave 

VOL. x. D 


it : Luke xii. 32, Fear not, little flock ; it is your Father s pleasure to 
give you a kingdom/ And Christ hath purchased it, Heb. ix. 15 ; it 
is left us as a legacy by him, John xvii. 24 ; and he liveth for ever to 
be the executor of his own testament, Heb. vii. 25 ; so that now we 
are past all danger when once admitted into possession. 

3. Here is the description of that happy estate we are invited unto. 
Where observe 

[1.] The notion by which it is expressed ; it is a kingdom. What 
can be thought of more magnificent and glorious than a kingdom ? 
It is called a kingdom 

(1.) Partly with respect to Christ, who is our head and chief ; in 
whose glory we shall all participate and share, in our places and capa 
cities. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, and we shall 
reign with him as kings ; for he hath made us a royal priesthood, 
1 Peter ii. 9 ; and Eev. i. 6, He hath washed us in his own blood, 
and made us kings and priests unto God ; and Kev. v. 10, And 
hath made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign with 
him. It is begun on earth spiritually, but it is perfected in heaven 
gloriously, where the saints shall be as so many crowned kings. 

(2.) And partly with respect to the very thing itself. Our blessed 
estate shall be an estate of the highest dignity and dominion, of the 
fullest joy and content that heart can wish for. We have no higher 
notions whereby to express a blessed and happy estate ; and therefore 
our eternal glory, whereof we are partakers, is thus set forth ; especially 
to counterbalance our mean and low estate in the world : James ii. 
5, God hath chosen the poor of the world to be rich in faith, and 
heirs of a kingdom ; The saints shall have dominion in the morning, 
Ps. xlix. 14. They shall sit with Christ as kings upon the throne, to 
execute the judgment written. Oh ! how should this warm our hearts 
with the thoughts of these things ! 

(3.) Partly with respect to our loss by the fall. In the creation 
God put man in dominion, but by subjecting ourselves to the creature, 
who was made to be under our feet, we lost our kingdom, and are 
become slaves under the power of brutish lusts ; and till our blessed 
estate, we never fully recover it again; but then we are absolutely 
free, and at liberty to love and serve God. 

Well, then, it is no mean thing Christ inviteth us unto, but unto a 
kingdom, which we shall all jointly and severally possess. There are 
two quarrellous pronouns, meum and tuum, mine and thine, which 
are the occasion of all the strifes in the world. These shall be excluded 
out of heaven as the common barretters and makebates. There is no 
envy, no uncharitableness. There one cannot say to another, This 
part of this glorious kingdom is mine, that is yours ; for every heir of 
this kingdom shall be as much an heir as if he were sole heir. Here 
we straiten others as much as we are enlarged ourselves ; but there 
each one hath his full proportion in that blessed estate ; each hath the 
whole, and the rest never the less ; as the same speech may be heard 
entirely by me and all, as the light of the sun serveth all the world ; 
another hath not the less, because I enjoy the whole of it. 

Secondly, The adjunct of this kingdom is that it was prepared for 
us. The word signifieth made ready. God made ready this" statet>f 


happiness long ere we were ready for the possession of it. Eternal love 
laid the foundation of it. Merit of infinite value carried on the build 
ing, and powerful and effectual grace still pursueth the work in our 
hearts; for we must be prepared for the kingdom, as well as this kingdom 
prepared for us. So that, in short, this kingdom was prepared for us 

1. By the Father s love. It was his own love and most free good 
ness that inwardly moved him to do all this for us : Luke xii. 32, 
It is your Father s good pleasure. 

2. By the Son s merit and mediation, who died that we should live , 
together with him, 1 Thes. v. 10. 

3. By the sanctification of the Spirit, by which we are fitted for this 
estate, 2 Cor. v. 5. ^ 

1. The Father s love. The preparation is ascribed unto God: 1 
Cor. ii. 9, The things which God hath prepared for them that love 
him; and Heb. xi. 16, For God hath prepared for them a city. 
Particularly by God the Father. So Mat. xx. 23, It is not mine to 
give, but to them for whom it was prepared of my Father. The Father s 
act may be thus conceived : God loved us so much, as he decreed to 
give Christ for us, that by his precious blood he might purchase and 
acquire for us a blessedness in heaven; and in the fulness of time 
accordingly sent him into the world for that end, and bound himself 
by eternal paction and covenant that all that believe in his name 
should have this kingdom. This was the preparation of his decree. 

2. Jesus Christ, by way of execution of this decree, maketh a 
further preparation, when by his death he purchased it, and by his 
ascension went to seize upon it in our name : John xiv. 2, I go to 
prepare a place for you. As Christ by his death did purchase a right 
and title to heaven, so by his ascension he prosecuteth and applieth that 
right. He is gone, as our harbinger, to take up rooms for us. As the 
high priest entered into the most holy place with the names of the 
children of Israel upon his breast and shoulders, and with the blood 
of the sacrifices, so he hath entered heaven with our names, to present 
the merit of his blood continually, and to pour out the Spirit to fit us 
for glory : this is his errand and business in heaven, and he is not 
unmindful of it. 

3. The Spirit prepareth us, without which all the rest would come 
to no effect; for it is the wisdom of God to dispose all things into their 
apt and proper places. Therefore the persons are prepared, as well as 
the place : Kom. ix. 23, Vessels of mercy, which he hath aforehand 
prepared unto glory. He worketh faith in their hearts, giveth them a 
title, and by sanctifying prepareth them for the possession and enjoy 
ment of it : He that worketh us for this self-same thing is God, 2 
Cor. v. 5. 

Thirdly, The application or appropriation of this preparation to the 
persons that shall now enjoy it, For you ; which respects not only 
the qualification, but the persons. 

1. Not only for such as you, but for you particularly. In the general, 
heaven was prepared for believers. God never intended unbelievers 
should have such a glorious estate ; such as love the world do not prize 
nor long for this happiness, and therefore it is fit they should never 
enjoy it ; for though the preparation be a work of abundant mercy, 


yet that mercy is so tempered and limited by his wisdom and justice, 
that it will not permit him to give such holy things to dogs, or cast 
pearls before swine. No ; it was prepared to be enjoyed only by 
believers and holy ones. 

2. For you personally and determinatively. This is most agreeable 
to Christ s scope and sense, for all the conditions were also prepared 
for them. God did elect us to faith and holiness, as well as to eternal 
life. Faith is the fruit of election, not a cause ; he did not choose us 
because we were holy, or because he did foresee that we would be holy, 
but that we might be holy, Eph. i. 4; that, being sanctified and 
renewed by the Spirit, we might be placed in the new Jerusalem. 
For you in person, that is Christ s meaning. 

Fourthly, The antiquity or ancientness of this preparation, From 
the foundation of the world ; that is, from all eternity ; for the scrip 
ture goeth to the highest point of time unto which we can ascend in 
our thoughts. So that cnro Kara/3 o\rjs signifieth as much as TT/OO 
Karaftokris ; as it is expressly said, Eph. i. 4, Before the foundation 
of the world. The phrase is ordinary in scripture, and is as much as 
to say, from all eternity, or before any time was ; for God s purposes 
are as he is, eternal and without beginning ; therefore, if we speak of 
God s intention and purpose, it was before all worlds. Those that 
understand this, For you/ that is, for persons so qualified, will deny 
the meaning of the phrase to be that the dignities of the kingdom of 
heaven were designed to be the reward of all the faithful servants of 
Jesus Christ before all worlds ; and they that know the scriptures 
cannot but conclude that from all eternity he made choice of us to be 
justified, sanctified, and glorified. The elective love of God is of an 
ancient standing, even from all eternity, and therefore most free, there 
being nothing in the elect before they had a being to move his love 
towards them ; and this will be the glory of his grace at that day, that 
we are invited into that estate that was prepared for us long before : 
and who are we, that the thoughts of God should be taken up about 
us so long since ? Titus iii. 2, Which God, that cannot lie, promised 
before the world began ; so 2 Tim. i. 9, Who saved us, and called 
us with a holy calling, according to his purpose and grace, which was 
given to us in Christ before the world began. He indented then with 
Christ to bring us to what we shall at last enjoy. But if any morosely 
insist upon the phrase, because it doth not necessarily signify eternity, 
we must then understand that though the purpose of God were from 
everlasting, yet the things designed and acted by him, they take their 
beginning in time, or with time ; and so the words must be under 
stood (1.) Of preparing the place which shall be the state of the 
blessed. The third heaven is the dwelling-place of the saints, which 
was framed about the beginning of the creation. So good and gracious 
was our God, that he did not make man or angel till he prepared a 
place convenient for them. Or (2.) To the promise presently made 
upon Adam s fall ; but the former exposition is more simple. 

Well, then, you have heard what entertainment the faithful shall 
have from Christ at his coming, so far as our dull minds can conceive 
of it, and with weak and imperfect words can express it to you. Now 
let us see what use we may make of all this. 


Use 1. Let us be convinced that there is such an estate, and will be 
such a time, and that there is no true blessedness but this enjoyment 
of God in the kingdom of heaven, that we shall then have. The 
world hath been much puzzled about disputes of happiness, and the 
way to it. The philosophers, some placed it in knowledge, some in 
that virtue which they knew, some in pleasure ; some in this, some in 
that. Austin out of Varro reckoneth up two hundred and eighty-six 
opinions about the chief good. They erred thus because they sought 
it in so many things, whereas it consists in one the enjoyment of 
God ; and because they sought it in this world, where all things are 
mortal and frail, and we can find not one thing that can make us 
completely happy. This discovery was left for the scriptures, which 
teach us that our happiness lieth in God alone, and that our perfect 
enjoyment of him, in body and soul, is reserved for Christ s coming, 
when there is a perfect conformity to God and communion with him : 
1 John iii. 2, Beloved, we are now the children of God ; but it doth 
not appear what we shall be, but we know when he shall appear we 
shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. The Lord revealeth 
his truth to us in the word, but before we can be convinced of it we 
must be enlightened by the Spirit ; for spiritual things can only be 
spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. ii. 14. We may talk of these things by 
rote one to another, and have an assent to them, which is called a 
non-contradiction, though not a positive understanding and conviction 
of the truth of them : Believest thou this ? John xi. 26. 

2. When we believe it, let us look for it and long for it, and live in 
the hopeful expectation of this blessed time, when all these things- 
shall be accomplished. Therefore, if we believe such a thing, we must 
long for it, and live in the hope of it : Titus ii. 13, Looking for the 
blessed hope. Hope showeth itself 

(1 .) Partly by frequent and serious thoughts and delightful medi 
tations of the thing hoped for. Thoughts are the spies and messengers 
_of hope ; it sendeth them into tKe land of promise, to bring the soul 
tidings thence. It is impossible a man can hope for anything but he 
will be thinking of it, for it is the nature of this affection to set the 
mind a-work, and to preoccupy and forestall the contentments we 
expect before they come by serious contemplations, and feast the soul 
with images and suppositions of things to come, as if they were already 
present. So should we demean ourselves as if the judgment were set, 
and the judge upon his white throne, and we heard him blessing and 
cursing, absolving and condemning. The heart will be where the 
treasure is, Mat. vi. 18. As if we saw Christ with his faithful ones 
about him. If a beggar were adopted to the succession of a crown, 
he would please himself in thinking of the happiness, honour, and 
pleasure of the kingly estate. If you did hope to be coheirs with 
Christ, or to inherit the kingdom prepared for you, you would think 
of it more than you do. Our musings discover the temper of our 
hearts. A carnal heart is always thinking of building barns, advancing 
the family higher, our worldly increase : Luke xii. 18, I will pull 
down my barns, and build bigger, and bestow my fruits. And those 
in James iv. 13, To-morrow we will go to such a city, and continue 
there a year, and buy and sell and get gain. It is usual with men to 


feed themselves with the pleasure of their hopes ; as young heirs spend 
upon their estate before they possess it. 

(2.) By hearty groans, sighs, and longings: Kom. viii. 23, We 
groan in ourselves. They have had a taste of the clusters of Canaan 
in private justification; they can never be soon enough with Christ : 
when shall it once be ? They are still looking out, and the nearer to 
enjoyment the more impatient of the want : The earnest expectation 
of the creature, Kom. viii. 19. Stretching out the head to see if they 
can spy a thing a great way off ; as Judges v., She looked through the 
lattice : why is his chariot so long a-coming? They would have a 
fuller draught of consolation, more access to him, and communion 
with him. 

(3.) By lively tastes and feelings. It is called a lively hope, 1 Peter 
i. 3 ; not a living hope only, but lively ; because it quickens the heart, 
and filleth it with a solid joy, Kom. v. 2 ; 1 Peter i. 8. Where we 
have such a fruition, the very looking and longing giveth us a 

3. This hope should put us upon serious diligence and earnest 
pursuit after this blessedness, 1 Peter i. 13. Partly as it purgeth the 
heart from lusts : 1 John iii. 3, He that hath this hope in him purifieth 
himself as Christ is pure. These are the months of our purification, 
wherein we are made meet to be partakers of the saints in light ; we 
are a-preparing for heaven, as that is prepared for us, and it is a lively 
expectation which produceth this. That puts us upon mortification 
and diligence in cleansing the soul, that we may be counted worthy to 
stand before the Son of God. Partly as it withdraweth our hearts 
from present things, and minding earthly things : But our conver 
sation is in heaven/ Phil. iii. 18-21. A man that is always looking 
and longing for the world to come, the present world is nullified to 
him, and he hath a mean esteem of all secular interests and content 
ments in comparison of those other which his soul looketh after ; as a 
man looking upon the sun cannot see an object less glorious. On the 
contrary, our overprizing secular contentments necessarily breedeth an 
undervaluing of matters heavenly ; and those that have so great a 
relish for the world and the delights of the flesh, they know not what 
eternal life meaneth. The Israelites longed for the flesh-pots of 
Egypt before they tasted the clusters of Canaan ; by faith Moses 
refused the honours and pleasures of Pharaoh s court. We cannot 
value real happiness till we are brought to contemn earthly happiness. 
Partly as it urgeth to care and diligence, and constancy in obedience. 
This is the spring that sets all the wheels a-going : Phil. iii. 13, I 
press towards the mark, because of the high prize of our calling." 
What is the reason Christians are so earnest and serious ? There is 
an excellent glory set before them ; the race is not for trifles. We 
want vigour, and find such a tediousness in the Lord s work, because 
we do not think of the kingdom of heaven prepared for us, 2 Cor. viii. 
8, 9 ; 1 Cor. xv. 53, We are confident and willing rather to be absent 
from the body, and present with the Lord: wherefore we labour, 
that whether we are present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 
If it be tedious to us to be at work for God, this tediousness will not 
consist with the cheerful remembrance of that great blessedness which 


he hath prepared for us. How eminent should we be in the labours 
of holiness, to whom this estate was so peculiarly designed ! Partly 
in self-denial ; men venture all in this vessel of hope. Self-denial is 
seen in refusing and resisting temptations of honour and profit. Sin 
maketh many promises, and so prevaileth by a carnal hope. Balaam 
was enticed by proffers of riches to curse God s people ; Babylon s 
fornications are presented in a golden cup. Now faith and hope sets 
promise against promise, heaven against earth, the pleasures at God s 
right hand against carnal delights ; as the kingdoms of the world are 
nothing to this glorious kingdom. Partly in charity ; laying up trea 
sure in heaven : Luke xii. 33, Being rich in good works, 1 Tim. vi. 
18. I call this self-denial, because it is a loss for the present, Eccles. 
ii. So in hazarding interests : Christians blessings are future, their 
crosses are present, Eom. viii. 18 ; 2 Cor. iv. 12. 

Thus you see there are some who are carried on by the hopes of 
heaven to make serious preparation ; others are wholly wedded and 
addicted to present things. The world, morally and spiritually con 
sidered, is divided into two ranks ; the one of the devil, the other of 
God. Some seek their rest and happiness on earth, others eternal 
felicity in heaven. By nature all are of this earthly society, in the 
kingdom of darkness, and strangers to the commonwealth and city of 
God ; but when grace hath wrought in them the belief of this coming 
of Christ, and the hope of this blessed estate is rooted in us, we are 
always purging out of fleshly lusts, and weaning our hearts from the 
world, exercising ourselves to godliness, and denying our worldly 

4. This hope must moderate our fears, sorrows, and cares, so as no 
temporal thing should unreasonably affect us : Luke xii. 32, Fear not, 
little flock. The fear is allayed ; the world cannot take away anything 
from us so good as Christ will give unto us. If our earthly estate be 
sequestered, or anyway taken from us, we have a better estate in 
heaven, Heb. x. 34. If we be reproached and disgraced in this world, 
yet we shall be kings and priests, and for ever be honoured in heaven. 
If banished and driven from place to place, so that we can find no rest 
nor safety, but are wearied out with our removals, let us consider we 
have a place of eternal abode in heaven, a kingdom that cannot be 
shaken, of which none can dispossess us. Our sufferings may be 
many, long, and grievous, but then all will be at an end when Christ 
shall place us at his right hand : Heb. vi. 19, Which hope have we 
as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth 
into that within the veil/ We have a sure anchor in the stormy gusts 
of temptations : 1 Thes. v. 8, Let us put on the breastplate of faith 
and love, and for an helmet the hope of salvation ; and Eph. vi. 17, 
And take the helmet of salvation. Hope is our helmet in the 
dreadful day of battle. As long as we can lift up our heads and look 
to heaven/ we should patiently bear all calamities. We shall at last 
hear this blessed voice, Come, ye blessed of my Father ; inherit the 
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 



For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat ; / ivas thirsty, and ye 
gave me drink ; I ivas a stranger, and ye took me in ; naked, 
and ye clothed me ; / was sick, and ye visited me ; I was in 
prison, and ye came unto me. MAT. XXV. 35, 36. 

WE have seen the sentence, now the reason of the sentence. For, the 
illative particle, showeth that many like the sentence, would be glad to 
be entertained with a Come, ye blessed of my Father ; but turn back 
upon the reason, to visit, feed, and clothe ; they have no mind, or to 
any other serious duties and acts of faith and self-denial. But we 
must regard both ; and I hope in a business of such moment you will 
not be skittish and impatient of the word of exhortation. I shall first 
vindicate the words, and then give you some observations from them. 
First, Vindicate them, and assert their proper sense and intend- 
ment ; for upon the reading four doubts may arise in your minds : 

1. That good works are the reason of this sentence. 

2. That the good works of the faithful are only mentioned, and not 
the evil they have committed. 

3. That only works of mercy, or the fruits of love, are specified. 

4. All cannot express their love and self-denial this way. 

Let me clear these things, and our way will be the more easy and 
smooth afterward. 

1. For the first doubt, that works are assigned as the reason of the 
sentence of absolution ; for the papists thence infer their merit and 
causal influence upon eternal life. I answer 

[1.] It is one thing to give a reason of the sentence, another to 
express the cause of the benefit received and adjudged to us by that 
sentence. A charter may be given to a sort of people out of mere 
grace, and privileges promised to all such as are under such a qualifi 
cation, though that qualification no way meriteth those privileges and 
that grace promised ; as if a king should offer pardon and preferment 
to rebels that lay down their arms and return to their duty and 
allegiance, and live in such bounds ; their returning to their duty doth 
not merit this pardon, for it was a mere act of grace in the prince ; 
much less doth their return to their duty, and living peaceably within 
their ancient bounds, merit the honours and advancement promised ; 
yet this is pleadable in court, and the judge that taketh knowledge of 
the cause, taketh the reason of his sentence from their peaceable 
living within their bounds, whereby lie judgeth them capable of the 
honours promised and expected. So here ; God of his mere grace pro- 
miseth the pardon of our sins, and to bestow upon us eternal life, if we 
believe and repent, and return to the duty we owed him by our 
creation. Our obedience is not the cause of our pardon, or of our right 
to glory, but his free promise ; but yet this qualification must be taken 
notice of by our judge in the great day, as the reason of his sentence. 
The sprinkling of the door-posts with blood was not a proper cause to 
move the destroying angel to pass over, but according to that rule he 
must proceed ; the admitting all that have a ticket to any solemnity 

VERS. 35, 36.] SERMONS UPON MATTHEW xxv. 57 

is not the cause why they are worthy to be received. This is clear, 
that a person is justified in some other way than a sentence is justified. 
These works are produced to justify the righteousness of his sentence 
before the whole world. A sinner is justified by faith ; Christ s sen 
tence by the believer s obedience. 

[2.] That works merit not the blessings promised and adjudged to 
us, is evident ; for they are due : Luke xvii. 10, So likewise ye, when 
ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, 
We are unprofitable servants ; we have done that which was our duty 
to do. And they are imperfect : Phil. iii. 12, Not as though I had 
already attained, or were already perfect. And they are gifts of God, 
for which we ought to give him thanks, 2 Cor. viii. 1 ; a grace of 
God bestowed on us; and gifts have no equality with the reward, 
Rom. viii. 18. And they are done by servants redeemed by an 
infinite price : 1 Peter i. 19, With the precious blood of Christ, as 
of a lamb without blemish, and without spot ; being already appointed 
* heirs of eternal life, Horn. viii. 17 ; deserving eternal death, Kom. 
vi. 17 ; and that need continually implore the mercy of God for the 
pardon of sin. So much as you ascribe to man s merit, so much you 
detract from the grace of God ; and the more sin is acknowledged, 
the mom illustrious is grace : Eom. v. 20, Where sin abounded, 
grace did much more abound/ You cross the counsel of God, all 
glorying in himself : 1 Cor. i. 29, That no flesh should glory in his 
presence ; and Beut. ix. 4-6, Speak not thou in thy heart, after that 
the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For 
my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land ; 
but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out 
from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness 
of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land ; but for the wicked 
ness of these nations, the Lord thy God doth drive them out from 
before thee, and that he may perform the word which the Lord sware 
unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand therefore, 
that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for 
thy righteousness ; for thou art a stiff-necked people. 

[3.] That works are produced as the undoubted evidences and 
fruits of a true and sound faith.- Justification is opposed to accusa 
tion before God s tribunal. A double accusation may be brought 
against us that we are sinners, or guilty of the breach of the first 
covenant, and that we are no sound believers, having not fulfilled the 
conditions of the second. From the first accusation we are justified 
by faith, from the latter we are justified by works, and that not only 
iii this world, but in the day of judgment. Christ s commission and 
charge is to give eternal life to true believers, and the mark of true 
believers is holiness. Therefore, if his judgment be right, by pro 
ducing this fruit and effect it must be justified. A judge is to proceed 
secundum regulas juris, et allegata et probata, as to the parties 
judged ; and because in the day of judgment the covenant of grace 
hath the force of a law, therefore it belongeth to Christ as a judge to 
see we have fulfilled the condition of it, which is faith ; and that our 
faith is true is proved by works. When we are first pressed with sin, 
because the promise of justification, or remission of sin, requireth 


faith, it must be embraced by faith, and taken hold of by faith ; our 
faith must pitch upon it, draw comfort from it, even before good 
works are done by us. But because the next accusation will presently 
arise, as if our faith were not true, we must be justified from this 
accusation by good works, not be contented with one or two good 
works, but abounding in all, that thus we may be justified more and 
more, and approved by our judge. 

[4.] That faith is implied in all the works mentioned is evident 
(1.) From Christ s scope. The manner of judging those in the visible 
church is intended. And (2.) The expression showeth it ; for it is 
Christ they respected in his members. Now it requireth faith to see 
Christ in a poor beggar or prisoner, to love Christ in them above our 
worldly goods, and actually to part with them for Christ s sake. 
Self-denial is the fruit of faith. It is not merely the relieving of the 
poor, but the doing of it as in and to Christ. (3.) There is a near 
link between faith and works. Faith is not sound and perfect unless 
it produce these works, and these works are not acceptable unless they 
were the works of faith, and done in faith. 

2. The second doubt is, whether the good works of the faithful shall 
be only mentioned, and not the evil ? I answer 

So some would collect from this scheme and draught set down by 
Christ. It is a problem disputed, with probabilities on both sides, by 
good men. Some reason from the terms by which pardon is expressed; 
as by the blotting out of sin, remembering transgressions no more, 
cast into the depths of the sea. It is like God will cover them, 
because repented of and forgiven in the world. On the other side, 
they urge the exact reckoning, Eev. xx. 11 ; the general particles, 
2 Cor. v. 10, and Eccles. xii. 13 ; and that for every idle word that 
men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of 
judgment, Mat. xii. 36. I would not interpose ; I cannot say abso 
lutely that their sins shall not be mentioned at all ; for Acts iii. 19, 
it is said, Eepent ye, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may 
be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the pre 
sence of the Lord. Certainly not to their trouble and confusion; 
possibly not particularly. These scriptures are not cogent to prove 
they shall. For it may be meant distributively ; all the evil of the 
wicked, and the good of the godly. However, these scriptures should 
breed an awe in our hearts. 

3. A third doubt is, that only works of mercy and charity, rather 
than piety, are mentioned by our Lord and Saviour. I answer 

[I.]- It is clear that the special is put for the general, and an act 
of self-denying obedience is put for all the rest. In other places a 
more general expression is put ; as Mat. xvi. 27, For the Son of man 
shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels ; and then he 
shall reward every man according to his works ; ; and 2 Cor. v. 10, 
For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ; that 
every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that 
he hath done, whether it be good or bad ; and Eev. xx. 12, And I 
saw the dead, small and great, stand before God ; and the books were 
opened : and another book was opened, which is the book of life : and 
the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the 

VERS. 35, 36.] SERMONS UPON MATTHEW xxv. 59 

books, according to their works. And therefore acts of mercy are not 
intended to be cried up alone, as separate from all other acts of piety 
and charity to God and men ; yea, all acts of charity, for which we 
are accountable unto God, are not mentioned ; comforting the afflicted, 
reproving the faulty, instructing the weak, counselling the erring, 
praying for others. Therefore, under these works of charity, all the 
fruits of faith are understood, and the real gracious constitution of the 
heart that must produce them : 1 Cor. xiii. 3, And though I bestow 
all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be 
burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me not, ovBev dpi. But 
Christ doth not express that so plainly, because he would show that 
this judgment shall proceed according to what is visible and sensible. 

[2.] Christ singled out works of mercy for the evidence ; because 
the Jews had been more exact and diligent in the observing the cere 
monies of external worship, but negligent of these things. Therefore 
doth God so often by the prophets tell them of mercy above sacrifices: 
Hosea vi. 6, For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice ; and the know 
ledge of God more than burnt-offerings/ And mercy above fasting, 
Isa. Iviii. 6, 7. These are duties never out of season, and including a 
real benefit to mankind. God preferreth them before external rites of 

[3.] These are most evident and sensible discoveries, and so fitted 
to be produced as fruits of faith. There is a demonstration of the 
soundness of it ; a signis notioribus. These are most conspicuous, and 
so fittest to justify believers before all the world, who reckon good 
and evil most by the bodily life. Therefore doth Christ instance in 
acts of bodily rather than spiritual charity. Not in reproving, con 
verting, counselling, but in feeding and clothing. 

[4.] These are acts wherein we do exercise faith and self-denial. 
In imparting spiritual gifts to others we lose nothing ourselves, as our 
candle loseth nothing by communicating light to another. Christ 
would have us venture something on our heavenly hopes ; and not 
please ourselves with a religion that costs us nothing, and puts us to 
no charges. Alms is an expensive duty ; here is something parted 
with, and that upon reasons of faith : Eccles. xi. 1, Cast thy bread 
upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days ; Prov. xix. 
17, He that hath pity upon the poor, lendeth unto the Lord ; and 
that which he giveth them, will he pay it again. 

[5.] Christ would hereby represent the excellency of charity, and 
commend it to the covetous niggardly world. It is the duty wherein 
we do very much resemble God and Christ ; and all his followers 
should be like him. These are all works of God ; to feed the hungry, 
clothe the naked, visit the sick, we imitate him in this, are instruments 
of his providence. Mercy is a very lovely thing, an imitation of the 
divine nature. Our Lord told us, Acts xx. 35, it is a more blessed 
thing to give than to receive. It cometh nearest the nature of God. 
So Christ himself went about doing good, and healing all that were 
oppressed. And by helpfulness to others we do very much resemble 
Christ. I cannot exclude this, since mercy is mentioned only. 

4. A fourth doubt is this, that all cannot express their love and 
self-denial this way ; some are so very poor and miserable. I answer 


[1.] All must have that faith which will work by love : Gal. v. 6, 
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor un- 
circumcision ; but faith, which worketh by love ; and self-denial, 
which some way or other must be expressed : Mat. xvi. 24, Then said 
Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny 
himself, and take up his crpss, and follow me. By denying the ease 
of the flesh, if not the interests of it ; to be serviceable in their place, 
whatsoever it be. 

[2.] Though some be so needy themselves that they cannot clothe 
the naked or feed the hungry, yet they may visit the sick, resort to 
such as are in prison. Every one, in some kind or other, may be the 
object of his neighbour s charity ; so may every one be either the 
instrument or agent in the doing of it. The rich may stand in need 
of the help or prayers of the poor, and the poor of the bounty of the 
rich. If we have a heart to part with all for Christ, we have that 
faith which will carry away the price of gospel privileges. All must 
have such a value for Christ, see such an excellency in the world to 
come, that they have a heart and disposition to part with all, rather 
than quit the profession of the gospel, or neglect the duties thereof, 
Mat. xiii. 44, 45. 

These things premised, I come now to observe these points: 

First, That at the general judgment all men shall receive their 
doom, or judgment shall be pronounced according to their works ; for 
Christ produceth works both in the sentence of absolution and con 

Secondly, That Christ hath so ordered his providence about his 
members, that some of them are exposed to necessities and wants, 
others in a capacity to relieve them. 

Thirdly, That works of charity, done out of faith and love to Christ, 
are of greater weight and consequence than the world usually taketh 
them to be. 

Other points may be raised, but to these three all the rest may be 

First, That at the general judgment all men shall receive their 
doom, or judgment shall be pronounced according to their works. 

Of the wicked there is no doubt but that they shall receive accord 
ing to their works ; they stand on their own bottom ; their works 
deserve punishment; their doom and sentence is justified by their 
works. But for the godly, it is also true that life everlasting shall be 
awarded, secundum opera, non propter opera. Not that this kingdom 
is by right due to us for our works ; but the righteousness of the 
sentence is manifested by producing our works. This will appear 
if we consider (1.) The business, scope, or end of the day of judg 
ment ; (2.) The respect of good works, and how far they are con 

1. The business of that day is not only to glorify God s free love 
and mercy, but also his holiness rewarding justice and truth. Then 
God will not only glorify the riches of his glorious grace, in the elect 
ing of his people out of his love and favour to them, without anything 
considered in them ( Come, ye blessed of my Father. The first cause 
of our salvation is made the blessing of the Father) but also his 

VERS. 35, 36.] SERMONS UPON MATTHEW xxv. 61 

remunerating justice, veracity, or truth. This maketh for our purpose 

[1.] His holiness. The holy God delighteth in holiness. He will 
now manifest it in the sun, the estimation he hath of the holiness of 
his people. The veil is taken away; now it is made matter of sense. 
It is a delight to him. Christ mentions their graces and services as 
things which are pleasing and acceptable to him : Ps. v. 4, Thou art 
not a God that hast pleasure in wickedness. But he hath pleasure in 
the holiness of his people. The upright are his delight, and as such 
will he speak of them, and commend them, and represent them to the 

[2.] His remunerating justice. The justice of God requireth that 
there should be different proceeding with them that differ among them 
selves; that it should be well with them that do well, and ill with 
them that do evil ; that every man should reap according to what he 
hath sown, whether he hath sown according to the flesh or the spirit ; 
and the fruit of his doings be given into his bosom. Therefore, those 
whom Christ will receive into everlasting life must appear faithful and 
obedient ; for then Christ will judge the world in righteousness, Acts 
xvii. 31. 

[3.] That he may show his veracity and faithfulness. The faithful 
God will make good his promises, and reward all the labours and 
patience and faithfulness of his servants, according to his promises to 
them. If his promises take notice of works, his justice will. God is 
not unfaithful or unrighteous, to forget your work and labour of love, 
which you have showed to his name, Heb. vi. 10. 

2. The respect of good works, and how far they are considered. 

[1.] They are perfectional accomplishments. Those that have done 
them are lovely objects in his sight, as being conformed to his nature 
and pattern. Can we imagine that God should bid the saints love one 
another for their holiness, and count them the excellent ones of the 
earth, Ps. xvi. 3, how poor and despicable soever they be as to their 
outward condition, and that he himself should not love them the more ? 
We, that have but a drop of the divine nature, hate impure sinners. 
Lot s righteous soul was vexed with the filthy conversation of the 
wicked, 2 Peter ii. 8. And we find a complacency and delight in the 
good. And can we imagine, without a manifest reproach to him, that 
God should be so indifferent to good and evil, and that the saints 
should not be more lovely in his sight for their holiness ? Therefore 
the more lovely the more endeared objects to their Kedeemer. 

[2.] They are qualifications to make them capable of his remunerat 
ing justice. There is in God a threefold justice : (1.) His strict 
justice ; (2.) His justice of bounty, or free beneficence ; and (3.) As 
judging according to his gospel law of promise. 

(1.) He may be said to be strictly just when he rewardeth man 
according to his perfect obedience ; yet no obedience, though never so 
perfect, can bind him to reward man or angel. 

(2.) He is just by way of bounty, when he rewardeth a man capable 
of reward ; though not in respect of his perfect righteousness in him 
self, yet because he is some way righteous in respect of others that are 
unrighteous. So it is said, 2 Thes. i. 6, 7, It is a righteous thing 


with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble his saints ; 
and to them that are troubled, rest/ &c. This with respect to Christ s 
merit, and the qualification of the parties. 

(3.) The third righteousness is in performance of his promises ; for 
though his promise be free, yet if it be once made, justice doth require 
it ; and God is not free, but bound to perform it. Now, in these two 
latter respects, are they capable. 

[3.] They are signs and tokens of their being approved and accepted 
with God, according to the gospel covenant. Christ, as God s steward, 
cometh to distribute the appointed rewar d to the heirs of glory. This 
is the evidence he is to proceed by. When the destroying angel 
was sent to destroy the first-born of the Egyptians, he was to take 
notice of the sign of sprinkling of blood on the door-posts, Exod. 
xii. Not that that blood deserved ; but it signified that there dwelt 

[4.] They are measures according to the degrees of grace, and our 
abounding in the work of the Lord : 2 Cor. ix. 6, He that soweth 
sparingly shall reap sparingly, and he that soweth bountifully shall 
reap also bountifully. The reward is more full or sparing according 
to what we have done or suffered for God. 

Use. To set us right in the doctrine of grace and works. We have 
to do with three parties 

(1.) The pharisaical legalist ; (2.) The carnal gospeller ; and, (3.) 
The broken-hearted and serious Christian. 

1. The legalist that trusts in himself that he is righteous, and 
hopeth to be accepted with God for his works sake. Trusting in 
works is very natural and very dangerous. It is very natural, because 
of the law written upon our hearts. We all come into the world with 
a sense of a duty-covenant ; and because every one would be sufficient 
to his own happiness, an unhumbled soul is apt to give more to duty 
and personal righteousness than to Christ : Kom. x. 3, For they, 
being ignorant of God s righteousness, and going about to establish 
their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the 
righteousness of God, OVK vTrerdyrjaav. A russet ragged coat of his 
own pleaseth a proud man better than a silken coat that is borrowed. 
It is dangerous ; for it is contrary to all the declarations of God : 
Eph. ii. 9, By grace ye are saved ; not of works, lest any man should 
boast. The whole progress of salvation, from its first step in regener 
ation till its final and last period in glorification, doth entirely flow 
from God s grace, and not from our works. The securing the interest 
of free grace in our salvation is a thing the Spirit of God is very care 
ful of in the scriptures, the glory of grace being that which God 
mainly aiineth at, Eph. i. 6, and a thing which we do naturally incline 
to intrench upon, and to rob him of, in whole or in part. It crosseth 
the great end which God aimed at in contriving of man s salvation, 
which was that all ground of glorying should be taken away from man, 
as being in the meanest or least respect a saviour to himself, and that 
all the glory might be ascribed completely to God in Christ, 1 Cor. i. 
29-31. Christ spake a parable against those that trusted in them 
selves that they were righteous : Luke xviii. 9, Two men went up 
into the temple to pray, the one a pharisee, the other a publican. The 

VERS. 35, 36.] SERMONS UPON MATTHEW xxv. 63 

one cometh appealing to justice : The pharisee stood and prayed 
thus with himself, God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, 
extortioners, unjust, &c. ; I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all 
that I possess. The other cometh crying out grace : The publican, 
standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, 
but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner/ 
The sinner is justified, not the worker. In short, to prevent all mis 

[1.] Our works, whatever they are, either works of love to God or 
man, and the good use of external means or common grace, are not 
the moving cause or inducement to incline God to give us Christ, or 
the grace of faith, or work of conversion before others ; but this is the 
mere work of grace, or the mercy and good pleasure of God : Titus iii. 
5, 6, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but accord 
ing to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and 
renewing of the Holy Ghost ; which he shed on us abundantly, through 
Jesus Christ our Saviour/ 

[2.] Works, both before and after conversion, are not that right 
eousness, nor any part of that righteousness, by which sin is expiated, 
or the wrath of God appeased, or whereby we are reconciled to God, 
and do originally obtain a right to eternal life ; this is only ascribed to 
the merit of Christ : Kom. iii. 24, 25, Being justified freely by his 
grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God 
hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to 
declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through 
the forbearance of God/ The merit is in Christ s blood, Christ s 
obedience, his ransom and meritorious price. 

[3.] Our works, or what we do to fulfil the law of God, are not that 
instrument by virtue of which we apply the merits of Christ to our 
selves, or receive that righteousness by virtue of which we are recon 
ciled to God. Our interest in the merits of Christ, our right to par 
don of sin and grace, doth not arise from works, but merely faith, 
Kom. iii. 22; so that in the plea of justification, or our suit for the 
pardon of sin, we must renounce all our good works, and wholly rely 
on the merits of Christ, giving up ourselves to do the will of God. 
Abate this, and then works indeed come in as the fruits of faith, as 
evidences of eternal life and the way to glory. 

2. The carnal gospeller is the other person we have to do with ; and 
to him we say 

[1.] That no man can maintain his comfort, and faithfully rely 
upon Christ s merits, but he that is faithful in doing his Father s will. 
No other faith is allowed by the scriptures for sound in the judgment 
of our consciences but such a faith : Gal. v. 6, For in Christ Jesus 
neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith 
which worketh by love/ No other faith will be approved by Christ 
for sound at the last day : Mat. vii. 21, Not every one that saith unto 
me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that 
doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven/ 

[2.] That the doing of some good works cannot excuse men for the 
omission of others which be as necessary ; we must not do one act of 
charity only, but all. Many acts are reckoned up of one kind, to imply 


all the rest ; not only fed, but clothed ; not only clothed, but visited. 
Therefore, besides the goodness of the work which we are bound to do, 
there must be a uniformity in them. There are good works of divers 
kinds, many works of the same kind. To prophesy in Christ s name is 
a good work ; to cast out devils would seem to us more excellent than 
these mentioned ; as the workers of iniquity : Mat. vii. 22, Many will 
say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy 
name, and in thy name cast out devils, and in thy name done many 
wonderful works ? Ver. 23, Then will I profess unto them, I never 
knew you ; depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Then there are 
many works of the same kind ; we must not only visit, but clothe ; 
not once, but often. The same faith which inclineth our hearts to 
works of one kind, will incline them to every kind ; for they all stand 
by the same authority, and it is not agreeable with sincerity to balk- 
any of them. 

[3.] These works must be done so heartily as that it may appear 
we have denied all for Christ, and love him above all ; or that it may 
appear they are fruits of faith and love. The parting with worldly 
goods implieth our hearts must be loosened from the love of temporal 
things ; and the visiting of Christ in prison, which may be for right 
eousness sake, implieth our victory over our fear of danger ; otherwise 
it argueth our faith is weak and our love is cold, and so not sincere, 
not prevailing over us in such a degree as will argue sincerity. There 
is faith unfeigned/ 2 Tim. i. ,5, and loving in deed and truth, 
1 John iii. 18. Faith unfeigned, as when temporal things seem 
nothing to us, and are easily parted with ; and love in deed and in truth/ 
is to relieve our brethren with our goods, yea, to give our lives for 
them if need be, as appeareth ver. 16, 17. But alas ! love in most 
Christians is cold ; it will neither take pains, nor be at charge, much 
less lay down life for them, as Christ did for us ; do little to maintain, 
comfort, or support Christ s servants in distress. 

3. The broken-hearted, serious Christian, that thinketh works can 
never have enough of his care, or too little of his trust, that is always 
hard at work for God, and yet seeth God must do all at last, he is per 
suaded that grace doth not weaken his duty, but enforce it ; yet, when 
he hath done all, counteth himself but an unprofitable servant, and is 
still approving himself unto God more and more ; and yet the more 
he doth, the more daily need he seeth of Christ. No man liveth under 
a greater dread of the holiness and justice of God, yet flieth oftener to 
his mercy. We must comfort these. 

[1.] Consider, God observe th all the good that we do, and ponder- 
eth every action, of what kind soever it be ; whether giving food, or 
clothing, or harbour, or entertainment, or visiting, or comforting ; it 
will all be fruit abounding to your account, Phil. iv. 17. The more 
you abound in acts of communion with God, or relief towards such as 
are in misery, the greater will your reward be in the last day. There 
is fruit for our account, and abounding for our account. 

[2.] The least actions done for Christ s sake shall be rewarded by 
him ; for some of the actions are more inconsiderable than the other ; 
yet, if done for Christ s sake, a meal s meat, a little harbour, yea, a visit, 
is taken notice of by him. He doth not say, Ye feasted me, ye made 

VERS. 35, 36.] SERMONS UPON MATTHEW xxv. 65 

me sumptuous entertainment ; but, Ye gave me food, ye clothed me, 
ye visited, &c. The least action done for Christ s sake shall not go 
unrewarded : Mat. x. 42, Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of 
these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, 
verily I say unto you, he shall in nowise lose his reward. 

[3.] God will pardon all their failings. Here is no mention of the 
evil, but the good they had done. An honest upright heart is dis 
pensed with as to many weaknesses : Mai. iii. 17, I will spare them 
as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. 

I come now to the second point : 

Doct. 2. That Christ ordereth his dispensations so that some of his 
people are exposed to necessity, others in a capacity to relieve them. 

The privileges and promises of the gospel do not exempt the one 
from distress, nor do the duties and rules of the gospel make the pos 
session of riches to the other unlawful. In the one sort of good men 
Christ is hungry and athirst, in the other sort of good men he feedeth 
and clotheth them : Christ is in the giver and receiver : these want, 
that they may have matter of patience ; those abound, that they may 
have matter of bounty : Abraham was rich, Lazarus that slept in his 
bosom was poor. It is so 

1. That he may show himself to be the governor and disposer of all 
things here in the world, and that he giveth honour and riches to 
whomsoever he will, Dan. iv. 17. If these things were at the devil s 
disposal, God s friends should never have them. 

2. To show that the bare possession is not unlawful ; that it is not 
the having, but the ill use that bringeth so much mischief. 

3. That the world may know somewhat of his favour to his people, 
and what prosperity he can bestow upon all if it were expedient : some 
diseases require cordials, others sharp and bitter potions. 

4. That in the time of our exercise we may have a pledge what he 
will do for us hereafter, and give us in heaven. 

5. That they may be instruments of his providence, to supply others 
that want house and harbour, and all necessaries ; as the great veins 
receive blood to convey it to the lesser : some are kept under affliction. 
We sail more safely to the haven of salvation with an adverse wind 
than a prosperous. 

Use. If it fall to your lot to give rather than to receive, bless God 
in that behalf, and neglect not your duty. God could level all to an 
equality, but he will not, that you may be instruments of his provi 
dence to cherish them: you should be a fountain, not to keep the 
water to yourselves, but to overflow for the necessity of others. 

I come now to the third point : 

Doct. 3. That works of charity, done out of faith and love to God, 
are of greater weight and consequence than the world taketh them 
to be. 

1. There is a command of God requireth it. Next to the great 
duties of the gospel, nothing more enforced. To relieve the necessi 
ties of the poor is not arbitrary, but a duty required of us according 
to our abilities ; it is charity to them, but a due debt to God, and a 
part of our righteousness. Stewards are to dispense the estate by the 
master s command. 

VOL. x. E 


2. It is the trial of our love to Christ. He hath made the poor his 
proxies and deputies. We would cozen ourselves with an empty 
faith, and a cheap love, if God had not devolved his right upon our 
brethren : 1 John iii. 17, But whoso hath this world s good, and seeth 
his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from 
him, how dwelleth the love of God in him ? If Christ were sick in 
a bed, we would visit him ; if in want, we would relieve him. Christ 
is so nearly conjoined with his servants, that in their afflictions he is 
afflicted, in their comforts he is comforted ; he looks upon it as done 
to him. The godly of old time thought themselves much honoured 
if they could get a prophet or an apostle to their houses : Heb. xiii. 1, 
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have enter 
tained angels unawares. Here is Christ himself ; will you refuse him 
who is heir of all things ? 

3. It is the great question interrogated by him at the great day of 
accounts. It is not, Have you heard? have you prophesied? have 
you ate and drank in my presence? but, Have you fed? have you 
clothed ? have you visited ? We are one day to come to this account, 
and what sorry accounts shall we make ! So much for pleasure, for 
riot, for luxury, for bravery in apparel, and pomp in living, and little 
or nothing for God and his people ; as if a steward should bring in his 
bill, so much spent in feasts, in rioting, in merry company, when his 
master s house lieth to ruin, the children starved, and the servants 
neglected. We are very liberal to our lusts, but sparing to God. A 
man that expecteth to be posed, is preparing himself, and would fain 
know the questions aforehand. Christ hath told us our question. 


Then shall the righteous answer and say, Lord, when saw we thee an 
hungered, and fed thee ? and thirsty, and gave thee drink ? 
when saw ive thee a stranger, and took thee in ? and naked, and 
clothed thee ? or when saw ive thee sick and in prison, and came 
unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, 
Verily I say unto you, Insomuch as you have done it unto one of 
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. MAT. 
XXV. 37-40. 

WE have handled the sentence and the reason. The reason is ampli 
fied in some parabolical passages, which contain a dialogue or inter 
changeable discourse between Christ the King and his elect servants. 
In which you may observe (1.) Their question, ver. 37-39 ; (2.) 
Christ s reply and answer, ver. 40. Not that such formal words shall 
pass to and fro at the day of judgment, between the judge and the 
judged ; but only to represent the matter more sensibly, and in a more 
lively and impressive way to our minds. 

First, For their question ; certainly it is not moved (1.) By way of 
doubt or exception to the reason alleged by the judge in his sentence, 
there being a perfect agreement and harmony of mind and will between 


them. Neither (2.) Out of ignorance, as if they knew not that Christ 
was so much concerned in their works of love done to his children for 
his sake ; for this they knew aforehand, that what was done to chris- 
tians is done to Christ, and upon that account they do it as to Christ ; 
and such ignorance cannot be supposed to be found in the glorified 
saints. (3.) Some say the question is put to express a holy wonder at 
what they hear and see ; and no question Christ will then be admired 
in his saints, 2 Thes. i. 10. And three causes there may be of this 

1. Their humble sense of their own nothingness, that their services 
should be taken notice of and rewarded ; that he should have such a 
respect for their mean offices of love, which they little esteemed of, and 
had no confidence in them. 

2. The greatness of Christ s condescension, that he should have 
such a care of his mean servants, who were so despicable in the 

3. The greatness of the reward. Christ shall so incomparably, 
above all that they could ask or think, reward his people, that they 
shall wonder at it. This sense is pious, taken up by most interpreters. 
I should acquiesce in it, but that I find the same question put by the 
reprobates afterwards, ver. 42-44 ; they use the same words ; there 
fore I think the words are barely parabolical, brought in by Christ 
that he might have occasion further to declare himself how they fed 
him and clothed him, and what esteem he will put upon works of 
charity ; and to impress this truth the more upon our minds, that what 
is done to his people is accepted by him as if it were done to his 
person. However, because the former sense is useful, I shall a little 
insist upon it in this note. 

Doct. That when Christ shall come to reward his people, they shall 
have great cause to wonder at all that they see, hear, and enjoy. 

1. They shall wonder at the reason alleged. They that are holy 
ever think humbly of their own works, and therefore, considering their 
no-deservings, their ill-deservings, they cannot satisfy themselves in 
admiring and extolling the rich grace of their Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ, that he should take notice of anything of theirs, and produce 
it into judgment. See how they express themselves now : Ps. cxliii. 2, 
Enter not into judgment with thy servant ; Non dicit, Cum liostibus 
tuis. So Ps. cxxx. 3, If thou shouldest mark iniquity, Lord, who 
shall stand ? So 1 Cor. iv. 4, For I know nothing by myself, yet 
am not I thereby justified; Isa. Ixiv. 6, But we are as an unclean 
thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. This thought 
they have of all they do, and their minds are not altered then, for this 
is the judgment of truth as well as of humility : Luke xvii. 10, When 
we have done all, we are unprofitable servants. Their Lord hath 
taught them to say so and think so ; they did not this out of compli 
ment. And for their works of mercy, they were not to let their left 
hand know what their right hand did, Mat. vi. 3. It is a proverb 
that teaches us that we should not suffer ourselves to take notice of 
what we give in alms, nor esteem much of it, as if there were any 
worth therein ; and therefore, when Christ maketh such reckoning of 
these things, their wonder will be raised ; they will say, Lord, when 


saw we thee an hungry or athirst ? Their true and sincere humility 
will make them cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou 
art worthy, Lord, to receive glory and honour. Lord, it is thy 
goodness ; what have we done ? The saints, when they are highest, 
gtill show the lowest signs of humility to their Kedeemer, and confess 
that all the glory they have they have it from him, and are contented 
to lay it down at his feet, as holding it by his acceptance, and not 
their own merit ; they have all and hold all by his grace, and therefore 
would have him receive the glory of all. 

2. They shall wonder at the greatness of Christ s condescension and 
hearty love to his servants, though poor and despicable ; for in the 
day of judgment he doth not commemorate the benefits done to him 
in person in the days of his flesh, but to his members in the time of 
his exaltation: he doth not mention the alabaster box of precious 
ointment poured on his head, nor the entertainments made him when 
he lived upon earth, but the feeding and clothing of his hungry and 
naked servants. The greatest part of Christians never saw Christ in 
the flesh ; but the poor they have always with them. Kindness to 
these is kindness to him. Again, among these he doth not mention 
the most eminent, the prophets and apostles, or the great instruments 
of his glory in the world, but the least of his brethren, even those that 
are not only little and despicable in the esteem of the world, but those 
that are little and despicable in the church, in respect of others that 
are of more eminent use and service. Again, the least kindness shown 
unto them : Mat. x. 42, Whosoever shall give to drink to one of these 
little ones a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, verily I say 
unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward/ He had spoken before 
of kindness to prophets and righteous men, men of eminent gifts and 
graces ; then ordinary disciples ; among these, the least and most con 
temptible, either as to outward condition or state of life, or to use and 
service, and, it may be, inward grace. Now all this showeth what 
value Christ sets upon the meanest Christians, and the smallest and 
meanest respect that is showed them. The smallness and meanness 
of the benefit shall not diminish his esteem of your affection : anything 
done to his people, as his people, will be owned and noted. When 
the saints, that newly came from the neglects and scorns of an unbe 
lieving world, shall see and hear all this, what cause will they have to 
wonder, and say, Lord, who hath owned thee in these ? Alas ! in the 
world all is quite contrary. Let a man profess Christ, and resemble 
Christ in a lively manner, and own Christ thoroughly, presently he is 
(arj/jueiov avTt\eyojj,evov) set up for a sign of contradiction ; and that, 
not only among pagans, but professing Christians ; yea, by those that 
would seem to be of great note in the church, as the corner-stone was 
refused by the builders, I Peter ii. 7. And therefore, when Christ 
taketh himself to be so concerned in their benefits and injuries, 
they have cause to wonder : Christ was in these, and the world knew 
it not. 

3. At the greatness of the reward; that he should not only take 
notice of these acts of kindness, but so amply remunerate them. In 
the rewards of grace God worketh beyond human imagination and 
apprehension : 1 Cor. ii. 9, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither 


have entered into the heart of man, the things God hath prepared for 
them that love him. We cannot, by all that we see and hear in thia 
world, which are the senses of learning, form a conception large 
enough for the blessedness of this estate. Enjoyers and beholders will 
wonder at the grace, and bounty, and power of their Kedeemer. It is 
a transcendent, hyperbolical weight of glory, 2 Cor. iv. 17. Where is 
anything that they can do or suffer that is worthy to be mentioned or 
compared with so great a recompense ? When these bodies of earth 
and bodies of dust shall shine like the stars in brightness, these sublime 
souls of ours see God face to face, these wavering and inconstant 
hearts of ours shall be immutably and indeclinably fastened to love 
him and serve him and praise him; as without defection, so with 
out intermission and interruption; and our ignominy turned into 
honour ; and our misery into everlasting happiness : Lord, what work 
of ours can be produced as to be rewarded with so great a blessed 

Use. That which we learn from this question of theirs, supposed to 
be conceived upon these grounds, is 

1. A humble sense of all that we do for God. The righteous remem 
ber not anything that they did worthy of Christ s notice; and we 
should be like-minded : Neh. xiii. 22, Remember me, my God, 
concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of thy 
mercy. When we have done our best, we had need to be spared and 
forgiven rather than rewarded. On the contrary, Luke xviii. 11, The 
pharisee stood and prayed thus to himself, God, I thank thee, that I 
am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as 
this publican. And those, Isa. Iviii. 3, Wherefore have we fasted, 
say they, and thou seest not ? wherefore have we afflicted our souls, 
and thou takest no knowledge ? They challenge God for their work. 
None more apt to rest in their own righteousness than they that have 
the least cause. Formal duties do not discover weakness, and so men, 
are apt to be puffed up ; they search little, and so rest in some outward 
things. It is no great charge to maintain painted fire. The substan 
tial duties of Christianity, such as faith and repentance, imply self- 
humbling ; but external things produce self-exalting. They put the 
soul to no stress. Laden boughs hang the head most ; so are holy 
Christians most humble. None labour so much as they do in working 
out their salvation ; and none so sensible of their weaknesses and 
imperfections. Old wine puts the bottles in no danger, there is no 
strength and spirits left in it ; so do formal duties little put the soul 
to it. On the other side, they are conscious to so many weaknesses as 
serious duties will bring into the view of conscience, and have a deep 
sense of their obligations to the love and goodness of God, and a strong 
persuasion of the blessed reward. None are so humble as they : they 
see so much infirmity for the present, so much obligation from what 
is past, and such sure hope of what is to come, that they can scarce 
own a duty as a duty. None do duties with more care, and none are 
less mindful of what they have done. They discern little else in it, 
that they contribute anything to a good action, but the sin of it. This 
is to do God s work with an evangelical spirit ; doing our utmost, and 
still ascribing all to our Mediator and blessed Redeemer. 


2. What value and esteem we should have for Christ s servants and 
faithful worshippers. Christ treateth his mystical body with greater 
indulgence, love, and respect than he did his natural body ; for he doth 
not dispense his judgment with respect to that, but these. He would 
not have us know him after the flesh, 2 Cor. v. 16 ; please ourselves 
with the conceit of what we would do to him if he were alive and here 
upon earth ; but he will judge us according to the respect or disrespect 
we show to his members, even to the meanest among them ; to wrong 
them is to wrong Christ : Zech. ii. 8, He that toucheth you toucheth 
the apple of his eye. The church s trouble goes near his heart, which 
in due time will be manifested upon the instruments thereof. To 
slight them is to slight Christ : He that despiseth you, despiseth me. 
To grieve and offend them is to grieve and offend Christ : Mat. xviii. 
10, Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones ; for I say 
unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my 
Father which is in heaven. Did we but consider the value Christ 
puts upon the meanest Christian, we would be loath to offend them. 
What comfort, love, kindness you show to them, it is reckoned by 
Christ as done to himself. If we would look upon things now as they 
shall be looked upon at the day of judgment, we would find our hands 
and tongues tied and bridled from injuring Christ s faithful servants; 
yea, we would show more of a Christian spirit in relieving their bodily 
and spiritual necessities, and doing good upon all occasions. 

3. It teacheth us to take off our thoughts from things temporal to 
things eternal ; both in judging of ourselves and others. The great 
miscarriage of the world is because they measure all things by sense 
and visible appearance : Now we are the sons of God ; but it doth not 
appear what we shall be, 1 John iii. 2. Heirs in the world are bred 
up suitable to their birth and hopes, but God s sons and heirs make 
no fair show in the flesh. 

[1.] Do not judge amiss of others. God s people are a poor, despised, 
hated, scorned company in the world as to visible appearance ; and 
what proof of Christ is there in them ? Who can see Christ in a 
hungry beggar ? or the glorious Son of God in an imprisoned and 
scorned believer? or one beloved of God in him that is mortified with con 
tinual sicknesses and diseases ? Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, 
or sick, and in prison ? A pearl or a jewel that is fallen into the dirt, 
you cannot discern the worth of it till you wash it, and see it sparkle. 
A prince in disguise may be jostled and affronted. To a common 
eye things go better with the wicked than with the children of God. 
They enjoy little of the honour and pleasure and esteem of the world, 
and yet they are the excellent ones of the earth, Ps. xvi. 3. If you 
can see anything of Christ in them, of the image of God in them, you 
will one day see them other manner of persons than now you see them, 
or they appear to be. These will be owned when others are disclaimed, 
and glorified when they are rejected and banished out of Christ s pre 
sence ; and though your companying with them be a disgrace to you 
now, it will then be your greatest joy and comfort. 

[2.] Do not judge amiss of yourselves. When the world doth not 
esteem of us, but is ready to put many injuries upon us, and to follow 
us with hatred and sundry persecutions, we are apt to judge ourselves 


forsaken of God ; that we have no room or place in his heart, or else 
these things would not befall us. Oh, no ! Christ may be imprisoned 
in his members, banished in his members, reduced to great straits and 
exigencies in his members ; yea, by the hand of God you may be made 
poor and hungry and naked ; but all this shall be recompensed to you. 
We must not walk by sense, but by faith, 2 Cor. v. 7. Time will 
come when they that wonder at our afflictions shall wonder at us for 
the glory that Christ will put upon us, when you and all the saints 
about you shall say, Little did I think that a poor, base, laborious, 
miserable life should have such a glorious end and close. Christians, 
wait but a little time, and you will have more cause to wonder at 
the glory that shall be revealed in you than at the afflictions you now 

Secondly, We now come to Christ s answer and reply to this question. 

1. Take notice of the note of averment and assurance, Verily I say 
unto you. I do the rather observe it, because I find the like in a 
parallel place : Mat. x. 42, Verily I say unto you, He shall in nowise 
lose his reward. This showeth that it is hardly believed in the world, 
but yet it is a certain truth. 

2. The answer itself ; wherein the former passages are explained of 
Christ s being hungry, thirsty, naked, exiled, imprisoned ; the riddle is 
opened. What is done to the afflicted, Christ taketh it as if it were 
done to him in person. 

In this answer observe 

[1.] The title that is put upon afflicted Christians ; they are his 

* brethren. 

[2.] The extent and universality of this title ; the meanest are not 
excepted, The least of these my brethren. The meanest as well as 
the most excellent ; the poor, the abject of the world, believing in 
Christ, are accounted his brethren. 

[3.] The particular application of this title, to every one of them, 

* To one of the least of my brethren. We cannot do good to all ; yet 
if we do good to one, or to as many as are within our reach or the com 
pass of our ability, it shall not be unrewarded. 

[4.] The interpretation of the kindness showed to these brethren, 
What you have done to the least of these my brethren, you have done 
it unto me. . 

1. I shall first consider the force and importance of these expres 

2. Their scope and intendment here, which is to bind us to acts of 
charity and relief to Christ s poorest servants. 

First, For the force and importance of these expressions. And 
there, first, observe, that whoever belie veth in Christ are accounted 
as his brethren and sisters, and he will not be ashamed to own them 
as such at the last day. 

Here I shall show you (1.) Who are brethren ; (2.) What a privi 
lege this is. 

First, Who are brethren ? Some by brethren understand mankind ; 
and so, What you have done to the least of my brethren, in their 
sense, is to the meanest man alive, partaker of that human nature 


which I have honoured by assuming it. But that is brethren in the 
largest sense. No ; that is not his meaning here. Upon what grounds 
charity is to be expressed to them I shall show you more fully by and 
by. To do good to a poor man, as to a poor man, is a work of natural 
mercy ; out to do good to a poor man, as he is one of Christ s brethren, 
is a work of Christian charity : 2 Peter i. 7, Add to brotherly kind 
ness, charity. $i\a8eX<ia and ayairt), is distinguished. There is a 
more kindly and tender affection that we owe to those who are chil 
dren of the same father, or are in charity bound to judge so, by sym 
pathising with them in trouble, supplying their necessities, every way 
studying to promote their spiritual and temporal welfare. But a 
general love to all we must thirst after, and endeavour the true good 
of all, to whom we may be profitable. But the title of brethren to 
Christ groweth from faith, by which we are made the children of 
God : John i. 12, But as many as received him, to them gave he 
power to become the sons of God. And therefore Christ calleth them 
brethren. And it is very notable to observe : Heb. ii. 11, For both 
he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, are all of one ; for 
which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren. Mark, the 
kindred is only reckoned to the sanctified : though all mankind have 
the same nature, come of the same stock, yet He that sanctifieth, and 
they that are sanctified, are all of one ; for which cause he is not 
ashamed to call them brethren. There the relation holdeth of both 
sides. Christ is born of a woman, and they are born of God, John i. 
13 ; and so he is a kinsman doubly. Hatione incarnationis suce et 
regenerationis nostrce, as Macarius. He taketh part of flesh and 
blood, partaketh of human nature ; and we are made partakers of a 
divine nature, 2 Peter i. 4 ; and Mat. xii. 47-50, Then one said unto 
him, Behold thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to 
speak with thee : but he answered and said unto him that told him, 
Who is my mother ? and who are my brethren ? And he stretched 
forth his hand towards his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and 
my brethren ; for whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in 
heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. 

Secondly, Now I shall show you, in the next place, what a privilege 
this is. I shall show you 

1. What condescension there is on Christ s part, that he should 
count the least of his people, not only for his own, but for his brethren. 
The apostle saith, He is not ashamed, Heb. ii. 11. We are said to 
be ashamed in two cases : 

[1.] When we do anything that is filthy. As long as we have the 
heart of a man, we cannot do anything that hath filthiness in it with 
out shame. Or 

[2.] When we do anything beneath that dignity and rank which we 
sustain in the world. The former consideration is of no place here ; 
the latter then must be considered. Those that bear any rank and 
port in the world are ashamed to be too familiar with their inferiors ; 
yet such is the love of Christ towards his people, that though he be 
infinitely greater and more worthy than us, yet he is not ashamed to 
call us brethren. It is said, Prov. xix. 7, All the brethren of the 
poor do hate him. If a man fall behind-hand in the world, his friends 


look askew upon him ; but Jesus Christ, though he be the eternal Son 
of God, by whom he made the world, the splendour of his Father s 
glory, and the brightness of his person, the King of kings, and the Lord 
of lords, and we be poor, vile, and unworthy creatures, yet he dis- 
daineth not to call us brethren, notwithstanding our meanness and 
unworthiness, and his own glory and excellency. Divines observe 
that Christ never gave his disciples the title of brethren but after his 
resurrection ; before, servants, little children, friends, were their usual 
designations ; but then he expressly calleth them brethren : John xiii. 
13, 14, Ye call me lord and master, for so I am ; and John xii. 
26, If any man serve me, let him follow me ; and where I am, there 
shall my servant be. Friends : John xv. 15, I have called, you 
friends. But after the resurrection the style of brethren is very fre 
quent : Mat. xxviii. 10, Go tell my brethren, I go into Galilee ; and 
John xx. 17, Go to my brethren, and tell them, I go to my Father, 
and your Father. And at the last day he giveth this title to all the 
elect, that are put at his right hand. 

Quest. But what is the reason of this ? 

Ans. Though the ground were laid in the incarnation, when Christ 
naturalised himself to us, and became one of our own line, yet he doth 
expressly own it after his resurrection, and will own it at his coming 
to judgment, to show that his glory and exaltation doth not diminish 
his affections towards his people, but rather the expressions thereof are 
enlarged. He still continueth our brother, and will do so as long as 
our nature remaineth in the unity of his person, which will be to all 

2. That it is a real privilege to us ; it is a title of great dearness 
and intimacy ; it is not an idle compliment, for there is cause and 
reason for it, Sta rrjv airlav. All mankind coming of one father, 
and being made of one blood, are brethren ; and Christ reckoneth him 
self among us, and assumeth the relation proper to his nature, especially 
when we get a new kindred by grace. It is not an empty title, but a 
great and real privilege ; not a nominal, titular relation, to put honour 
upon us, but to give us benefit, Kom. viii. 17, and for the present 
assureth us of his tender respect. 

Use 1. It comforts us against the sense of our own unworthiness. 
Though our nature be removed so many degrees of distance from God, 
and at that time polluted with sin, when Christ glorified it, and 
assumed it into his own person, yet all this hindered him not from taking 
our nature, and the title depending thereupon. Therefore the sense 
of our unworthiness, when it is seriously laid to heart, should not 
hinder us from looking after the benefits we need, and which are in 
his power to bestow upon us. This term should revive us. Whatever 
serves to our comfort and glory, Christ will think it no disgrace to do 
it for us. This may be one reason why Christ biddeth them tell his 
brethren, I am risen, Mat. xxviii. 10. The poor disciples were greatly 
dejected and confounded in themselves ; they had all forsaken him, 
and fled from him ; Peter had denied him, and forsworn him ; what 
could they look for from him but a sharp and harsh exprobration of 
their fear and cowardice ? But he comforts them with this message, 
Go tell my disciples, and Peter, that I am risen. The fallen man is 


not forgotten. Peter was weeping bitterly for his fault, but Christ 
sends him a comfortable message, G-o tell Peter I am risen. 
Secondly, The next thing that I shall observe is 
Doct. That what is done to his people, to the least of them, Christ 
will esteem it as done to himself. 

1. It holdeth true in injuries : Isa. Ixiii. 9, In all their afflictions 
he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them ; in his love 
and in his pity he redeemed them ; and Acts ix. 4, And he fell to 
the earth, and he heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, whyper- 
secutest thou me ? Christ was wronged when the saints were wronged. 
He is above passion, but not above compassion. The enemies of the 
church have not men for their enemies, but Christ himself. When 
they are mocked and scorned, Christ is mocked and scorned. 

2. It holdeth also true of benefits. The least courtesy or act of 
kindness showed to them is showed to Christ ; that which is done in 
Christ s name, and for Christ s sake, is done unto Christ. You do not 
consider the man so much as Christ in him. The apostle saith they 
received him even as Christ Jesus, Gal. iv. 14 ; that is, in his name, 
and as his messenger, 2 Cor. v. 10 ; and Luke x. 16, He that heareth 
you, heareth me ; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me ; as a king 
is resisted in a constable armed with his authority. As when we go 
to God in Christ s name, whatever we obtain is put upon Christ s 
account (it is not for our merit, but Christ s), so whatsoever you do to 
any person in Christ s name, and for Christ s sake, is done to Christ. 
If you send another in your name, if he be denied, you take yourselves 
to be denied ; if granted for your sake, you think it granted to you. 

I come now to consider 

Secondly, The scope. These things are parabolically represented, 
to increase our faith concerning the reward of charity. The doctrine 
is this 

Doct. That one special end and use unto which rich men should 
employ their worldly wealth should be the help and relief of the poor. 

1. In the general, it is not to the rich, but to the poor. Feasts and 
entertainments are usually for the rich ; but Christ saith, Luke xiv. 
12-14, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, 
thy brethren, neither thy kinsman, nor thy neighbour ; lest they bid 
thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest 
a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the blind, the lame ; and thou shalt 
be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee ; for thou shalt be recom 
pensed at the resurrection of the just. Many truck with their kind 
ness ; they make merchandise rather than impart their charity : this 
is not charity, but merchandise. 

2. Of the poor there are three sorts : 

[1.] Pauperes diaboli, the devil s poor ; such as have riotously spent 
their patrimonies and reduced themselves to rags and beggary by their 
own misgovernment. These are not wholly to be excluded when 
-their necessity is extreme; you give it to the man, not to the sin: it 
may work upon them, especially when you join spiritual alms with 

[2.] There are pauperes mundi, the world s poor : such as come of 


poor parents and live in poor estate ; those are to be relieved : there is 
a common tie of nature between us and them : Isa. Iviii. 7, Thou 
shalt not hide thyself from thine own flesh. 

[3.] There are pauperes Christi, Christ s poor ; such as have suffered 
loss of goods for Christ s sake, or being otherwise poor, profess the 
gospel ; these especially should be relieved : Rom. xii. 13, Distribut 
ing to the necessities of the saints ; and Gal. vi. 10, Let us do good 
to all, especially to the household of faith. There is an order ; first, 
our own families, our parents, our children or kindred, 1 Tim. v. 8 ; 
then strangers ; and among them those that profess the same faith 
with us ; and then them who do most evidence the reality of faith by 
a holy life ; and then to all, as occasion is offered. 

Eeasons of this duty. 

1. The near union that is between Christ and his people. Christ 
and believers are one and the same mystical body, with Christ their 
head : 1 Cor. xii. 12, For, as the body is one, and hath many mem 
bers, and all the members of that one body being many, are one body ; 
so is Christ. Now that union compriseth all : When one member 
suffereth, all the members suffer with it/ ver. 26. There is a sympathy 
and fellow-feeling. When you tread upon the toe the tongue will cry 
out, and say, You have hurt me. They cast themselves out of the 
body that have not common joys and common sorrows with the rest 
of the members. 

2. Christ hath commended them to us as his proxies and deputies. 
He himself receiveth nothing from us ; he is above our kindness, being 
exalted into the heavens ; but in every age he leaveth some to try the 
respects of the world. Oh ! what men would do for Christ if he were 
now in the flesh ! It is a usual deceit of heart to betray our duties 
by our wishes. Now Christ hath put some in his place : 1 John iv. 
20, If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar ; 
for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love 
God whom he hath not seen? We would be as much prejudiced 
against Christ as we are against the godly poor. That which your 
servant receiveth by your order, you receive it. He receiveth your 
respects by the hands of the poor ; he hath devolved this right on the 
poor as his deputies : Mat. xxvi. 11, For ye have the poor always with 
you, but me ye have not always. We pretend much love to Christ ; 
if he were sick in a bed, we would visit him ; if in prison, or in want, 
we would relieve him. What is done to one of these is done to him. 

3. It is a great honour put upon us to be instruments of divine pro 
vidence and preservation of others. You are God s substitutes in 
giving, as the poor in receiving. As gods to them, we relieve and 
comfort them. He could give to them without thee, but God will put 
the honour of the work upon thee. This is the greatest resemblance 
of God : Acts xx. 35, It is more blessed to give than to receive ; 
that is, more God-like. It is a great mercy to be able and willing : 
Luke vi. 36, Be ye therefore merciful, as your heavenly Father is 
merciful. The true advantage of wealth is in relieving and support 
ing others ; nothing showeth our conformity to God so much as this. 
Christ saith not, If ye fast, ye shall be like your heavenly Father, or, 
If ye pray, or, If ye prophesy, or, If ye be learned ; but, If ye be 


merciful, as your heavenly Father is merciful. Thou boldest the 
place of God, and art as it were a god to them. 

4. The profit of this duty. It seemeth a loss, but it is the most 
gainful trade in the world. It is the way to preserve your estates, to 
increase them, to cleanse them, to provide for eternal comfort in them. 

[1.] To keep what you have. Your goods are best secured to you 
when they are deposited in God s hands ; you provide bags that wax 
not old/ Many an estate hath been wasted for want of charity, James 
v. 2, 3. 

[2.] To increase it, as seed in the ground. The husbandman getteth 
nothing by keeping the corn by him : 2 Cor. ix. 6, He which soweth 
sparingly shall reap sparingly ; and he which soweth bountifully 
shall reap bountifully ; Deut. xv. 10, When thou givest to thy poor 
brother, the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in 
all that thou puttest thy hand unto. All your works of mercy and 
liberality shall be abundantly repaid : Luke vi. 36, Give, and it 
shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together 
and running over. But above all, Prov. xix. 17, He that giveth to 
the poor lendeth to the Lord ; that which he hath given he shall pay 
him again. If you would put out your money to the best advantage, 
lend it to the Lord ; the interest shall be infinitely greater than the 
principal. What better security than God s? He is a sure pay 
master, and he will pay them to the full, great increase for all that he 
borrowetb, a hundred for one, which is a usury not yet heard of in 
the world. You can expect nothing from the poor sort ; they have 
nothing to give you ; but God is their surety, he that is the great 
possessor of heaven and earth, that never broke his word. Nay, we 
have his hand and seal to show for it ; his bond is the scriptures, his 
seal the sacraments ; therefore he will pay you. But you will say, 
These are words. Venture a little and try : Mai. iii. 10, Prove me 
now herewith, saith the Lord. Give, and it shall be given to you/ 
Whereas, on the contrary, if you forbear to give, God will forbear to 
bless ; as the widow s oil, the more it run the more it increased, and 
the loaves were multiplied by the distribution. And then 

[3.] It cleanseth your estate ; you will enjoy the remainder more 
comfortably. Wells are the sweeter for draining ; so are riches, when 
used as the fuel of charity. There are terrible passages against rich 
men : How hard is it for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of 
heaven. There is no way to free ourselves from the snare but to be 
liberal and open-handed upon all occasions : Luke xi. 41, Give alms, 
and all things shall be clean to you. 

[4.] You may possess an estate with a good conscience. It will not 
easily prove a snare. Nay, you shall have comfort of it for ever ; you 
shall have treasure in heaven : Luke xii. 13, Sell that you have and 
give alms ; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in 
the heavens that faileth not. Whatever shift you make, rather sell 
than want to give out disbursements in this life, and your payment 
shall be in the next. 

Use is reproof, because there are so few true Christians in the world. 
Many men have great estates, but they have not a heart to be helpful 
to their poor brethren and neighbours, are very backward and full of 


repiniogs when they give anything. They are liberal to their lusts, 
gaming, drinking, rioting, luxury, in lawsuits, and costly apparel. Do 
these men believe there is a heaven and hell, and a day of judgment ? 
For motives. 

1. Thou shalt have treasure in heaven. Thou shalt not part with 
thy goods, so much as change them for those that are incomparably 
better. There is a reward for the liberal and open-handed. What is 
given to the poor is not cast away, but well bestowed. Now is the seed 
time, the harvest is hereafter. The poor cannot requite thee ; there 
fore God will : Luke xii. 14, A cup of cold water, given in charity, 
shall not want its reward, Mat. x. 

2. This reward is propounded to encourage us. Christ doth not 
only instruct us by commands, but allure us by promises. There is a 
dispute whether we may look to the reward. I say, we not only may, 
but must. Did we oftener think of treasure in heaven we would more 
easily forego present things. 

3. The reward which we shall receive not only answereth the reward, 1 
but far exceeds it. It is called a treasure : The riches of glory, Eph. i. 
18 ; and so are far better than these transitory riches which we cannot 
long keep. Thou shalt have eternal riches, which shall never be lost. 
Our treasure in heaven is more precious and more certain, Mat. vi. 19, 20. 

4. This reward is not in this life, but in the life to come ; treasure 
in heaven. What is it to be rich in this world ? They are but uncer 
tain riches : 1 Tim. vi. 17, Charge them that are rich in this world 
that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches ; but in 
the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. Bracelets of 
copper and glass and little beads, and such like trifles, are valued by 
the rude barbarians, that are contemptible with us. The use and valu 
ation of earthly things ceaseth in the world to come ; it only holdeth 
on this side the grave. What we now lend to the Lord we must make 
it over, that we may receive it by exchange there. 

5. It is a very pleasing thing to God : Acts x. 4, Thy prayers and 
thine alms are come up for a memorial before the Lord. They are a 
delight to God : Heb. xiii. 16, For with such sacrifices God is well 
pleased ; as the sweet incense that was offered with the sacrifice ; not 
appeased, but well pleased. So Phil. iv. 18, An odour of a sweet 
smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well-pleasing to God. 


Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye 
cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. 
MAT. XXV. 41. 

I COME now to speak of hell. Startle not at the argument ; we must 
curse as well as bless. See our gospel commission, Mark xvi. 16. 

In this verse you have (1.) The persons sentenced; (2.) The 
sentence itself. 

1 Qu. action, or eoine auch word ? ED. 


First, The persons sentenced ; in that title, or terrible compellation, 
ye cursed. 

Secondly, The sentence itself ; where we have 

1. Pcena damni, the punishment of loss, depart. 

2. Pcena sensus, the pains, into fire. 

3. The duration, everlasting. 

4. The company and society, the devil and Ms angels. 
I shall prosecute the text in this order : 

1. Show you that there are everlasting torments in hell, prepared 
for the wicked. 

2. These torments shall be full at the day of judgment. 

3. Concerning the persons sentenced ; it shall light upon the cursed. 

4. The nature of those torments ; the loss of communion with God 
in Christ, and the horrible pain of fire ; the duration, everlasting ; and 
the company, the devil and his angels. 

First, That there is a place of everlasting torments in hell, prepared 
for the wicked. 

This being a truth hated by flesh and blood, ought the more strongly 
to be made evident to us. Now there is a hell, if God, or men, or 
devils may be judge. 

1. Let God be the judge. He hath ever told the world of a hell, in 
the Old Testament and the New. 

[1.] In the Old Testament, but sparingly, because immortality was 
reserved as a glorious discovery, fit for the times of the gospel : Deut. 
xxxii. 22, A fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn to the 
lowest hell. God s wrath is still represented by fire, which is an 
active instrument of destruction ; and the seat and residence of it is in 
the lowest hell, in the other world. So Ps. xi. 6, Upon the wicked 
he shall rain snares, and fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest. 
First snares, and then fire and brimstone. Here they are held with 
the cords of vanity, and hereafter in chains of darkness. Here they 
have their comforts, crosses, snares ; then hell-fire for their portion. 
So Isa. xxx. 33, For Tophet is ordained of old ; yea, for the king it is 
prepared : he hath made it deep and large, the pUe thereof is fire, and 
much wood ; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth 
kindle it. Tophet is the same place which is called the valley of 
Hinnom and Gehenna in the New Testament ; a filthy hateful place, 
which the Jews defiled with dead men s bones : 2 Kings xxiii. 10, 
And he defiled Tophet, which is in the valley of the children of 
Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter pass 
through the fire to Molech. And he brake in pieces the image, and 
cut down the groves, and defiled their places with the bones of men/ 
Infants were burnt there, with horrible cries and screeches, and sound 
of drums and tabrets and other instruments, to drawn the noise ; and 
those that were condemned were burnt in that valley, as also the 
bones of malefactors. Now, to the piles of wood, and the piles con 
tinually burning there, doth the prophet allude. This was represented 
in Sodom s burning as a type, as the drowning of the world was a 
figure of Christ s coming to judgment : the burning of the sacrifice, 
which, in the interpretation of the law, was the sinner himself, was the 
figure of it. 


[2.] Now come we to the New Testament. There are places with 
out number. It is sometimes represented by fire, where we read of a 
furnace of fire : Mat. xiii. 42, And shall cast them into a furnace of 
fire ; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. God s wrath is 
compared in the Old Testament to a fiery oven, where the contracted 
flame appeareth most dreadful. Sometimes to a lake of fire : Kev. xix. 
20, And the beast was taken, and with him the false prt>phet, that 
wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had 
received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image ; 
both these were cast into a lake of fire, burning with brimstone. At 
other times it is compared to a prison : 1 Peter iii. 19, By which also 
he went and preached to the spirits that are in prison/ Or to a 
bottomless pit: Eev. ix. 11, And they had a king over them, which 
is the angel of the bottomless pit. There is darkness, and chains, and 
gaoler, and judge ; the chains of invincible providence, and their own 
horrible despair. There is no making an escape; but of this more 
hereafter. So that, unless we will count God a liar, there is such a 
place of torment provided. 

2. Ask men. The blind nations had a sense of eternity, and fancies 
of a heaven and hell, Elysian fields, and obscure mansions, and places 
of torment. There are some relics of this truth in the corrupt doctrine 
of the Gentiles. But we need not go so far back as tradition : look to 
conscience. Wicked men find in themselves an apprehension of 
immortality and punishment after death : Rom. i. 32, Who knowing 
the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy 
of death. Reason showeth that he that perfectly hateth sin will 
perfectly punish it ; not in this life, for abominable sinners are many 
times prosperous : here justice is not discovered to the utmost, there 
fore guilty conscience presageth there is more evil to come. There is 
much in these presages of conscience, especially when we are more 
serious, however they dissemble the matter when well: Heb. ii. 15, 
And deliver them from the fear of death, who all their lifetime were 
subject to bondage. Yet, when they come to die, when they are 
entering upon the confines of eternity, then they cannot hide their 
fears any longer. Oh ! the horrors and terrors of wicked men when 
they lie a dying ! If ever men may be believed, it is then. 

3. The devils are orthodox in this point for judges. There are no 
atheists in hell : Mat. viii. 29, And behold they cried out, saying, 
What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God ? art thou come 
to torment us before the time ? J They know there is a time when 
they shall be in greater torment than now they are. Therefore, if we 
will take God s word or authentic record for it, or man s word when 
he is not in a case to dissemble, or the devil s word, there is a hell, or 
everlasting torments prepared for the wicked. 

Object. 1. But is it not an everlasting abode under death, and, to 
make it the more terrible to vulgar capacities, expressed by eternal 

Ans. This were to make Christ a deceiver indeed, and to publish 
his doctrine with a lie or a handsome fraud. But clearly 

1. There is a state of torment, as well as a state of death. It is 
true it is called the second death, because deprived of eternal life, 


which is the only true life ; and because it is worse than the temporal 
death ; better never have been born : Mat. xxvi. 24, It had been good 
for that man that he had never been born. He doth not say, It had 
been good, but, It had been good/or that man. If only death and anni 
hilation were in it, what sense would there be in this speech ? There 
fore there is a lively and effectual sense of the wrath of God. Besides, 
the consciences of wicked men do fear and presage other kind of 
punishment from God s wrath, or else why are they most troubled 
when they come to die ? Why is it so dreadful a thing to fall into the 
hands of the living God ? Heb. x. 31. We are mortal creatures, but 
God is a living God ; why should the eternity of God make his wrath 
terrible, but that there is a fear of an eternal subsistence on our part 
also ? We read of many and fewer stripes, Luke xii. 47, 48 ; Mat. 
xi. 22, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of 
judgment than for you. If it be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon 
than for you, torments are measured out by proportion, according to 
our sins, and means of grace that we have enjoyed but not improved. 

2. There is a place of torment, a local hell, TOTTOV ftaa-dvov : Luke 
xvi. 28, This place of torment. And Judas went to his own place, 
Acts i. 25. As in all commonwealths, the prince hath not only his 
palace but his prison ; it must be somewhere, for the wicked are 
somewhere : God keepeth it secret with wise counsel, because he will 
exercise our faith, and not our sense : Job xxxviii. 17, Have the gates 
of death been opened to thee, or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow 
of death ? This is one of the secrets of providence. 

Object. 2. But how can it stand with God s love and mercy to punish 
his creature for ever ? Our bowels are troubled if we should hear the 
howling of a dog in a fiery furnace for a small space of time. Now 
God is love itself, 1 John iv. 8 ; therefore surely he will not damn 
liis creature to everlasting torments. 

Ans. Man is not fit to fix the bounds of God s mercy, but the Lord 
himself ; therefore take these considerations : 

1. God s punishments may stand with his mercy. It is very notable, 
in one place it is said, Heb. x. 31, It is a fearful thing to fall into the 
hands of the living God ; but in another place it is said, 2 Sam. xxiv. 
14, I am in a great strait ; let us fall now into the hands of the Lord, 
for his mercies are great. The one noteth God angry, the other God 
appeased. When God hath been long upon a treaty of love, patience 
abused is turned into fury. -The one showeth what God is in him 
self, love, sweetness, mercy ; the other, what he is when provoked. 
The sea in itself is smooth and calm, but when the winds and tempests 
arise, how dreadfully it roareth. God s attributes must not be set 
a-quarrelling. He is love and mercy, but he is also just, and true, and 
holy. If he were not angry for sin, he should not love his justice, 
make good his truth, manifest his holiness, and so hate himself. If 
God should pardon all sins, his abhorrency and hatred of sin could not 
be manifested, and so he would lose the honour of his infinite holiness ; 
therefore in men and angels he would declare his displeasure of it, 
and no less hatred of the sinner. God saw it best for his own glory to 
suffer some to sin, and by sin to come to punishment. Therefore do 
not wallow in thy filthiness, and think that God will be all honey, that 


mercy will bear thee out. He hath said that liars and drunkards shall 
have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone. 
If God is merciful, and yet did such things to Christ, certainly he may 
remain merciful much more, and yet punish thee. 

2. God doth it to show his mercy to others ; it was necessary for the 
whole world that God should inflict so severe a punishment. Punish 
ments are not always for the emendation of the delinquent, but for the 
good of others. The bowlings and groanings of the damned maketh 
the harmony and music of providence more entire, saith Gerson. It 
was a necessary provision for the good of the whole world, and meet 
for the beauty of providence, that God should have a prison as well as 
a palace. Besides, for the restraint of sin, there is more mercy in the 
restraint of sin, or the taking away of sin, than there would be in 
restraining the punishment ; this is the great means to lessen corrup 
tion. Origen, that thought the punishment of hell should one day 
have an end, yet thought not good to suppress this doctrine, lest men 
should take liberty to sin. So Epicurus and Seneca, that looked upon 
it as a poetical fiction, thought it to be a fit invention. A temporal 
punishment would not have been enough to restrain men ; men are 
obstinate in sin, and will endure any temporal inconveniences rather 
than part with their lusts: Micah vi., Eivers of oil, the first-born of 
their bodies for the sin of their souls ; and Baal s priests gashed them 
selves. It was the wisdom of God to find out such a remedy ; so that 
we may say, that God could not have been so merciful if he had not 
appointed these everlasting torments. It was necessary they should 
be, for they are a good help to virtue ; and to threaten, unless they 
were, will not stand with truth. Now which is the greater mercy ? 
to take away punishments or sins ? to lessen the miseries of mankind 
or their corruptions ? Many have escaped hell by thinking of the 
torments of it. 

3. The damned in hell cannot accuse God for want of mercy ; it will 
be a part of their torment in hell to remember that God hath been 
gracious ; conscience will be forced to acknowledge it, and to acquit 
God. Though they hate God and blaspheme him, yet they will remem 
ber the offers of grace, riches of goodness, and care of his providence : 
They will not see, but shall see, Isa. xxvi. 11. Oculos quos occlusit 
culpa, aperiet pcena. As now when God bringeth carnal men under 
mercies, it is one of the greatest aggravations. 

Object. 3. How can it stand with his justice to punish a temporary 
act with eternal torment or punishment ? 

Ans. 1. We are finite creatures, and so not fit judges of the nature of 
an offence against God ; the lawgiver best knoweth the merit of sin, 
which is the transgression of the law. The majesty against which they 
sin is infinite ; the authority of God is enough, and his will the highest 
reason. A jeweller best knoweth the price of a jewel, and an artist in 
a picture or sculpture can best judge of the errors of it. 

2. With man, offences of a quick execution meet with a long 
punishment, and the continuance of the penalty in no case is to be 
measured with the continuance of the act of sin. Scelus non temporis 
magnitudine, sed iniquitatis magnitudine metiendum est. Because man 
sinneth as long as he can, he sinneth in ceterno suo (as Aquinas), 

VOL. x. F 


therefore he is punished in ceterno Dei. We would live for ever to sin 
for ever, and because men despise an eternal happiness, therefore do 
they justly suffer eternal torment; and their obligations to God being 
infinite, their punishment ariseth according to the excess of their obli 

Use 1. It informeth us of the evil of sin. God will never be recon 
ciled to them that die in their sins, but for ever and for ever his bowels 
are shrunk up ; though God be love itself, and delighteth in nothing so 
much as in doing good to the creature, yet he doth not only turn away 
his face, but torment them for ever. 

Use 2. It reproveth and convinceth (1.) The atheist; and (2.) 
The carnal sensualist. 

1. The atheist. These men are short-sighted ; they cannot out-see 
time, and look beyond the grave. There is a hell; how will you 
escape it? Men think incredulity or unbelief is the best remedy 
against this fear. Do but consider, there is ten thousand to one, at 
least, against you. None more credulous than the atheist. If it prove 
true, in what a case are you ? As sure as God is, this is true. It will 
do you no hurt to venture the safest way, upon probabilities, till we 
have further assurance. Take heed of indenting with God upon your 
own terms : Luke xvi. 31, They have Moses and the prophets ; if 
they believe not them, neither will they be persuaded if one came from 
the dead. We will give laws to heaven, have one come from the 
dead. God is not bound to make them see that wilfully shut their 
eyes, nor to alter the course of his providence for our sake. 

2. The carnal sensualist ; that is, the practical atheist, that put it 
off, because they cannot put it away, Amos vi. 3. Many that know 
themselves careless, wretched creatures, yet are not at all troubled 
about things to come. A star that is bigger than the earth yet seemeth 
to us to be but a spark, because of the great distance between them 
and us. The sensual man looketh upon all things of the other world 
to be at a distance. It may be nearer than they are aware of ; their 
damnation sleepeth not ; it lieth watching to take hold of them. God 
can easily put you into the suburbs of hell, as Belshazzar, Dan. viii. 5, 
if you be negligent, and slip your time. You should labour to be 
found of him in peace. Now is the time of making peace with God ; 
if not, Depart, ye cursed/ So is every man by nature. And such 
who were never brought to a sense of the curse, and have not fled to 
Christ for refuge, Heb. vi. 18, and are not at leisure to think of eter 
nity, God s curse cleaveth to them. 

Use 3. To chide us for our unbelief. The knowledge of these things 
swimmeth in the brains ; we are guilty of incogitancy at least. This 

1. By our drowsiness, and weakness, and carelessness about the things 
of eternity. Did we believe that for every lie we told, or every one 
whom we deceived or slandered, we were forced to hold our hands in 
scalding lead for half an hour, how afraid would men be to commit an 
offence ! Temporal things affect us more than eternal. Who would 
taste meat if he knew it were present death, or that it would cost him 
bitter gripes and torments ? How cautious are we in eating or drink 
ing anything in the stone or cholic or gout, where it is but probable 


it will do us hurt ! We know certainly that sin hath death in it : 
The wages of sin is death, Rom vi. 23 ; yet we continue in sin. 

2. By our backwardness to good works. Sins of omission will damn 
a man, as well as sins of commission, small as well as great. Christ 
saith not, Ye have robbed, but, Not fed, not clothed ; not, Blasphemed, 
but, Not invoked the name of G-od ; not that you have done hurt, but 
that you have done no good. 

3. By our weakness in temptations and conflicts. We cannot deny 
a carnal pleasure, nor withstand a carnal fear, Mat. x. 28 ; shrink at 
the least pains in duty. The whole world promised for a reward 
cannot induce us to enter into a fiery furnace for half an hour ; yet, 
for a momentary pleasure, we run the hazard of eternal torments. 

4. By our carelessness in the matters of our peace. If a man were 
in danger of death every moment, he would not be quiet till he had 
got a pardon. How can a man be quiet till he hath secured his soul 
in the hands of Jesus Christ ? He that believeth not in Christ, the 
wrath of Grod abideth on him. 


Then shall he say to them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, 
into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. 
MAT. XXV. 41. 

I COME now to the second doctrine. 

Doct. 2. That these torments shall be full at the day of judgment : 
Then shall he say, &c. 

First, There is something presupposed, that they begin presently 
after death. They are in hell as soon as the soul departeth out of the 
body ; that is, as to the soul, as to the better half : Luke xvi. 22, 23, 
And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by angels 
into Abraham s bosom : the rich man also died, and was buried ; and 
in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments. It is a parable, but 
sure Christ spake intelligibly, and according to the received doctrine 
of the church in those times. Mark how quick it followeth. Here he 
had his pleasures : airedave Se KOI 6 7rXoucrto9, The rich man also 
died (rich men die as well as others), and was buried ; it may be, 
had a pompous and stately funeral, when the soul is in hell. The 
body is left in the hands of death, but the soul is in a living and 
suffering condition. The souls of good men are in heaven : Heb. xii. 
24, Spirits of just men made perfect. It would be uncomfortable 
for the saints to tarry out of the arms of Christ so long as the last 
judgment, to be in a drowsy estate, wherein they neither enjoy God 
nor glorify him. And so the spirits of wicked men, they are in hell, ev 
^>v\aKrj: 1 Peter iii. 19, Who were sometimes disobedient, now in 
prison. It would be some kind of comfort to the wicked to be so long 
delayed. The time is long till the last judgment, and we are not 
moved with things at a distance, what shall be thousands of years 
hence. It begetteth a greater awe when the danger is nigh. Oh ! 


let this startle wicked men : before night they may be in hell, before 
the body be committed to the grave : the soul flitteth hence as soon ae 
it departeth out of the body, to God that gave it, to receive woe or 
weal. The hour of death is sudden ; many are surprised, and taken 
unawares. Your carnal companions (if God would use that dispensa 
tion), that sometimes bowsed and caroused with you, and wallowed in 
filthy excess, by this time know what it is to be in torments ; they 
would fain come and tell you that you are as rotten fruit, ready to 
tumble into the pit of darkness. Every wicked man groweth upon 
the banks of eternity, and hangeth but by a slender string and root ; 
one touch of God s providence, and they drop into hell. 

Secondly, There is something expressed, to wit, that these torments 
shall receive their full and final accomplishment at the last day. 

That their torments shall be increased appeareth (1.) By com 
parison ; (2.) By scripture ; and (3.) By reason. 

1. By comparing them 

[1.] With the devils : Jude 6, And the angels which kept not 
their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in 
everlasting chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great 
day/ As good men are lo-ayyeXai, so wicked men are SaijAoves. The 
devils for the present are under the powerful wrath of God and horrible 
despair. Though they have a ministry and service in the world, yet 
they carry their own hell about with them ; full of fears and tremblings 
under the wrath of God, but not in that extremity, discontented with 
their present condition. Such a fall is much to a proud creature, and 
there is a despair of a better : Mat. viii. 29, What have we to do 
with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come to tcrment us 
before the time ? There is a bitter expectation of judgment to come. 
Now they have some delight in mischief, but at the last day their 
power shall be restrained, which is another infelicity of their nature. 
Their ignominy shall be manifested before all the world ; they shall 
be dragged before Christ s tribunal, and judged by the saints, whom 
they hate, 1 Cor. vi. 3. The good angels shall come as Christ s com 
panions, the evil as his prisoners. These are sights that will work on 
their envy and thwart their pride, to see the glory of the saints and 
angels. Dolet diabolus, quod ipsum et angelos ejus Christi servus, ille 
peccator judicaturus est, saith Tertullian. Then they are confined to 
hell, there to keep their residence, where they shall have a more active 
sense of their own condition, and of the wrath of God that is upon 
them. So it is with wicked men ; they have their hell now, but at 
the last day they shall be brought forth as trembling malefactors before 
the bar of Christ ; all their privy wickedness shall be manifested before 
all the world, 2 Cor. iv. 1, 2. However they may be honoured and 
esteemed now, either for their power or holiness, they shall then be 
put to public shame, driven out of his presence with ignominy and 
contempt, cast into hell to keep company with the devils, where their 
torments shall be most exquisite and painful. 

[2.] Compare them with the saints. Heaven s joys shall then be 
full, so hell s torments. The full recompense of the righteous, and 
the full vengeance of the wicked keep time and pace. Christ cometh 
to fetch the saints to heaven in state, rjfjiepa {fravepwa-ecos : Kom. viii. 


19, The earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifes 
tation of the sons of God. Then it shall be seen what God will do 
for his children. They are clad in their best robes to set off Christ s 
triumph. So suitably the wicked s judgment is not yet full ; upon 
the last day it shall be increased. Christ sets himself a-work to 
show the power of his wrath, to clothe them with shame and contempt. 

2. Scripture : 2 Thess. i. 7-9, When the Lord Jesus shall be 
revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking 
vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of 
our Lord Jesus Christ : who shall be punished with everlasting de 
struction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his 
power ; Heb. x. 27, There remaineth nothing but a certain fearful 
looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which shall devour the 
adversary ; and in many other places. 

3. Keason. The body, which hath so long respite, then hath its 
share of misery ; upon the reunion of the body and soul, they shall 
drink the dregs of God s wrath : The soul worketh on the body, and 
the body on the soul. As a heavy sad spirit weakens the body, and 
drieth up the marrow of the bones, and a sickly body maketh the soul 
sad and mopish, so when the soul is filled with anguish, and the body 
with pains, their torment must needs be greater, because they have 
had a great sense of the joys of the glorified saints ; as that nobleman, 
Thine eyes shall see it, but thou shalt not taste of it. It worketh 
upon their envy to see them glorified whom they have maligned and 
used despitefully ; and it worketh upon their conscience ; this they 
have lost by their own folly. As a prodigal that cometh by the houses 
and fields which he hath sold, and thinks, This was mine ; it is a 
grating thought to think, This might have been mine. Partly because 
of judgment and sentence. Then the books are opened, and all their 
ways are discussed ; they are ashamed, but God is cleared and vindi 
cated. There is a worm as well as a fire. The fire signifieth God s 
wrath, the worm the gnawing of their own conscience. It is hard to 
say which tormenteth them most, the terribleness or the righteousness. 
To consider that God is righteous in all that we feel, and we ourselves 
have been the causes of our own ruin, this is a cutting thought to the 
damned ; it maketh them gnash their teeth, and though they hate 
God, they can discharge the anger upon none but themselves. Besides, 
their companions are gathered together, those that sinned by their 
enticement or example, which are as fuel to kindle the flames, bind 
them in bundles, and set fire on one another. Objects reviving guilt 
are very displeasing here when conscience flieth in the face, as when 
Amnon hated Tamar. They cannot look upon the devils, but they 
think of temptations ; upon the damned, but either they read their 
own guilt by reflection (they are the same), or else it bringeth to 
mind their former example ; they brought them to this place. Again, 
Christ s final sentence is past ; and therefore wrath, et? TO reXo?, such 
wrath as they cannot have more, for he will no more deal with 

Use 1. Observe how a sinner hasteneth to his own misery by steps 
and degrees. In this life we are adding sin to sin, and in the next 
God will be adding torment to torment. Here God beginneth with 


us : John iii. 18, He that believeth not, is condemned already/ Do 
not say, It is a long time till the last judgment ; the halter is about 
thy neck, and there needeth nothing but turning over the ladder. 
Men are not sensible of it till they come to die, then there is a hell in 
the conscience, a sip of the cup of wrath. The horrors of the dying 
wicked are the suburbs of hell ; then yellings and bowlings begin. At 
death the bond of the old covenant is put in suit, and at the separation 
the gaoler carrieth us away to prison ; there the soul is detained in 
chains of darkness, in a fearful expectation of more judgment ; I am 
horribly tormented in this flame. But after Christ s coming to judg 
ment we are plunged into the depth of hell, the whole man is over 
whelmed with misery. Well, then, if you add drunkenness to thirst, 
God will add to your plagues, till wrath come upon you to the utter 

2. Observe the patience of God ; he doth not take a full revenge of 
his creatures till the last day. The most miserable creatures are 
suffered to enjoy some degree of happiness, or rather, do not feel the 
whole misery at the first. In the most dreadful executions of God s 
justice you may read patience. God is patient to the fallen angels, 
though presently, upon their sin, they were cast down into hell, 2 
Peter ii. 5 ; but much more to sinning man : In the day that thou 
eatest thereof thou shalt die, was the sentence ; yet the sentence is 
prorogued till the day of judgment. To those whom he hath a mind 
to destroy he is patient. The old world he bore with, first a hundred 
and twenty years, and then the rain was forty days in coming ; and 
reprobates, ev TroXXfi ^aKpodv^la, Kom. ix. 22, He endureth them 
with much long-suffering; intermission of wrath in this life, and 
respite to the body till the great day. How doth God bear with a 
company of hell-hounds ! He suffereth them to stand by, as a dog, 
while the bread of life is distributed to the children. To bear with 
his children is much, but to bear with his enemies, who seek not his 
favour, and are the worse because forborne, and do provoke him daily, 
and do not relent and acknowledge their offence, is much more ; yet 
all this while God holdeth his hands. Admire his patience, but do 
not abuse it. We are apt so to do : Eccles. viii. 11, Because sentence 
against an evil-doer is not speedily executed, therefore the hearts of 
the sons of men are fully set in them to do evil. Keprobates fare well 
for a time, live in plenty and ease, and therefore think hell but a dream 
and vain scarecrow. But take heed ; that which is kept off is not taken 
away ; and when you see wicked men endured, and not presently cut 
off, be not offended ; their day is coming, 1 Peter ii. 9 ; they are but 
reserved. Justice shall break forth, though the cloud of mercy long 
overshadow it. Their doom was long since passed ; God might strike 
them dead in an instant. 

3. One judgment maketh way for another. Our anger is rash, and 
therefore cooleth by degrees ; it is at the height at first : but it is not 
so with God ; his heateth by degrees, and is worst at last. There are 
first snares, then chains of darkness, then a most active sense of the 
wrath and displeasure of God. Let no man please himself in that he 
suffers affliction in this world ; these may be the beginnings of sorrow, 
miserable here and miserable hereafter. There are wicked poor and 


wicked rich; some have a double hell here and hereafter too. Do 
not think death will be an ease : Son, in thy lifetime thou receivedst 
thy good things/ There are Lazaruses in hell as well as in Abraham s 

4. Origen s charity was too large. Origen, and after him Gregory 
Nyssen and others, dreamed of KaBapaiov irvp, a flaming river through 
which the wicked pass, and so be happy, and that so all are saved, even the 
devils themselves ; abusing Rom. v. 18, and 1 Cor. xv. 2. There is an 
increase of torments, but no decay ; then it will be said, Go, ye cursed, 
into everlasting fire/ 

Secondly, Let us now speak of the persons sentenced. Here is a 
double description of them : 

1. From their posture, On the left hand. 

2. Their quality, in that title and terrible compellation, Ye cursed. 

1. Their posture, On the left hand/ It noteth not only the more 
ignominious place, but hath respect to their choice. The right hand 
is more honourable among all nations ; the innocent were to plead their 
cause on the right hand, the guilty at the left. But it hath respect to 
their own choice ; they seek after left-hand mercies : Ps. xvi. 11, At 
thy right hand are pleasures for evermore ; eternity, that is at God s 
right hand. So Prov. iii. 16, Length of days is in her right hand, and 
in her left hand riches and honour. At the last day wicked men have 
but their own choice. As Darius distinguished between his followers ; 
some love Aapelov, some Bapeiav ; so in the world there is a distinction ; 
some love the gift better than the giver, make a sinister choice, choose 
greatness, honour, worldly pleasures. A man may know his future 
estate by his present choice. Wisdom standeth inviting with both her 
hands full : In her right hand is length of days ; here is eternity of 
pleasure ; all the world runneth to the left hand. Kiches and honour 
look more lovely than length of days in a carnal eye. Which will you 
have ? Here in the church you will say, Eternity by all means ; but 
the course of your lives saith, Kiches and honour ; these take up your 
time, care, and thoughts. 

2. Let us see the title or terrible compellation, Ye cursed ; not by 
men, but by God. Many are blessed of God that are cursed of men : 
Mat. v. 12, Blessed are ye when men shall curse you for righteous 
ness sake : it is no boot to have the world s blessings ; yet observe 
ihe difference, ver. 34, he saith, Come, ye blessed of my Father ; but 
he doth not say, Cursed of my Father. Partly because cursing is 
alienum opus, his strange work ; it doth not come so freely and kindly 
as mercy. The blessing cometh of his own accord; without and 
before the merit of the creature ; but not the curse, till we force it, and 
wrest it out of God s hands. Partly because Christ would pass his 
sentence in a convincing way ; and therefore he doth not pitch damna 
tion upon the decree and counsel of God, as he doth election. It is 
blessed of my Father ; his love is the only cause ; but ye cursed/ 
It is good to observe the tenderness of the scripture when it speaketh 
of the execution of the decree of reprobation, that they may not cast 
the blame upon God : their damnation is not cast upon his decree, but 
their own deservings. You may see the like difference, Horn. ix. 22, 
Endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to 


destruction. But then, ver. 23, The vessels of mercy which he hath 
aforehand prepared unto glory/ He endureth the one, but he fitteth 
and prepareth the other ; he created them, and permitted them to fall 
in Adam, justly hardeneth them for refusing his will, but themselves 
prepare their own hell, by their natural corruption and voluntary de 
pravation, following their lusts with greediness. Speaking of the elect, 
it is said he hath prepared ; but of the reprobate, it is said he is fitted. 
The reprobates bring something of their own to further their destruc 
tion, pravity and naughtiness of their own ; every man is the cause of 
the curse and eternal misery to himself, but God is the cause and author 
of the blessing : Thy destruction is of thyself, but in me is thy heip 
found/ The elect have all from God ; he prepareth them for heaven, 
and heaven for them, without any merit of theirs. The reprobate is 
not damned simply on God s pleasure, but their own desert ; before he 
would execute his decrees, there is an interposition of their sin and 

Object. But it is said, Eom. ix. 11, Before the children had done 
either good or evil, it was said, Esau have I hated/ So that it 
seemeth that they are cursed and hated of God before any merit and 
desert of theirs. I answer 

There is a twofold hatred (1.) Negative ; (2.) Positive. 

1. Negative hatred is noluntas miserendi ; a purpose not to give 
grace, a nilling to give grace. And then 

2. There is a positive hatred, which is voluntas puniendi et condem- 
nandi. In other terms there is prasterition and predamnation. For 
the former, God hateth them, as he will not give grace, for he is not 
engaged ; and it is a great mercy that when all are worthy of punish 
ment, yet that he will choose some to life. And for the latter, punish 
and damn them he doth not till they deserve it by their own sins ; 
therefore it stoppeth the mouths of them that blaspheme the Holy One 
of Israel, as if he did create men for death and the pains of hell : Hosea 
xiii. 9, Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself. They are compassed 
with a fire of their own kindling, Isa. 1. 11. But it is time to return. 
Wicked men are cursed of God ; and God s curse is wont to take place. 
It is no easy matter to get rid of it ; the curse of the law sticketh to 
them at the last day, and shall eternally. He doth not say, Be ye 
cursed ; but, Go, ye cursed. They were cursed before they came to 
the tribunal of Christ. Those that are condemned to hell are such 
as remain under the curse of the law. And who are they ? Final 

[1.] Everyman by nature is under the curse; for till we are in 
Christ we are under Adam s covenant ; and Adam s covenant can yield 
no blessing to the fallen creatures : Gal. iii. 10, As many as are under 
the works of the law are under the curse ; for it is written, Cursed is 
every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book 
of the law, to do them/ The law requireth perfect, perpetual, and 
personal obedience. God did disannul the covenant made with Adam 
presently upon the fall ; but the curses stand in full force against those 
that have not changed state, but are only children of Adam ; and 
wicked men will find it so at the day of judgment, for they shall have 
judgment without mercy, whereas others are judged by the law of 


liberty, James ii. 12, 13. It is clear everywhere there are but two 
states ; either we are under the law or under grace. Hear what the 
law saith. An innocent nature, that is presupposed ; and the person 
must continue in this perfect obedience. But we have continued in the 
violation of all things contained in the law. No action without a stain. 
If God should call us to a punctual account for the most inoffensive 
day that ever we spent, who could stand before him ? Better we had 
never been born than to stand liable to that judgment, as all natural 
men do. 

[2.] There is no way of escape but in closing with Christ by faith. 
The apostle supposeth the objection, Gal. iii. 13. The curse of the law 
cleaveth to all Adam s posterity ; therefore we must have interest in 
another, who keepeth up the curse of the law : John iii. 36, He that 
believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him. The curse is not 
taken off ; nay, when Christ is tendered, and finally refused, it is set on 
the closer ; then we are condemned by the law, and condemned by the 
gospel too : John iii. 18, Condemned already ; cast in law. But 
what hath he done to the remedy ? ver. 19, This is the condemna 
tion, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather 
than light. Not accepting Christ offered is the great condemning sin. 
There remaineth no more sacrifice ; we cannot expect another way 
after refusing that : Heb. x. 26, For if we sin wilfully after we have 
received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice 
for sins. The condemnation of the gospel can never be remitted. The 
curses of the law are ratified for our abuse of mercy ; so that, in some 
sense, better we never had heard of Christ. 

Use 1. Is for examination ; how is it with you ? 

1. Every man by nature is in a cursed condition, Eph. ii. 3, liable to 
Adam s forfeiture and breach. Were you ever changed ? Until we 
change copies, we are still miserable. And 

2. There is no way to avoid this curse but in closing with Christ. 
In the sense of it fly to Christ for refuge. There is the law driving, 
and the gospel drawing. Christ is the only remedy the gospel showeth, 
and so pulleth in the heart to God ; and we are undone without that. 
The law showeth it, and so we are driven out of ourselves : Heb. vi. 
18, Who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before us. 
Fly as if the avenger of blood were at your heels. Phil. iii. 9 : Do you 
labour to be found in Christ ? When the flood was upon earth, none 
were saved but they that got into the ark. So Cant. ii. 3, I sat under 
his shadow with great delight." It supposeth the scorching of the sun 
in those hot countries. Canst thou find thy heart driven ? Thou art 
afraid thou shalt not get soon enough ; that God will leave his suit, or 
thou shalt be called out of the world before the match be made up. 
Dost thou find thine heart fastening upon Christ ? I will pitch here, 
as Joab took hold of the horns of the altar. 

3. Besides the sense of the benefit that we have by Christ, there 
must be an unfeigned love to him, or else the curse doth still remain : 
1 Cor. xvi. 22, If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be 
anathema maranatha, accursed till the Lord come ; and that is for 
ever and ever. Can a man think he shall be the better for Christ 
when he esteemeth him as dung and trash, hath no delight in him, no 


value for him ? We esteem men either as they are excellent in them 
selves, or as they are profitable to us. There is both in Christ. There 
fore, if you love him not, it is a sign you have had no benefit by him. 
Gospel love, it is a love of gratitude ; it ariseth from faith, Gal. v. 6. 

4. This love must be expressed by a sincere obedience : 1 John v. 3, 
His commandments are not grievous. It is not grievous for Christ s 
sake. The devil, though he be a proud spirit, careth not for dis 
praises, nor Christ for empty profession. Can any man esteem Christ 
that cannot forbear one pleasure for God, one vanity for his sake? By 
this you shall know whether you shall do well or ill, yea or no. Is it 
a pleasure to you to renounce your interests, to deny lusts, to perform 
duties for Christ s sake ? 

Use 2. Is to press us to come out of the curse of nature. 

1. Be sensible of it. Consider 

[1.] God s curse is very dreadful: Dei benedicere est benefacere. 
The curse causeless shall not come ; but God s curse is sure to take 
place. Micah was afraid of his mother s curse, that he dareth not 
keep the money ; yet we will keep our sins, Judges xvii. 2. It was 
money dedicated to make a graven image ; a senseless curse, that was 
pronounced at random ; but he thought it a dreadful thing to lie under 
a mother s curse, and therefore is not quiet till she had recalled it. 
Elisha cursed when he was mocked, and it took effect : 2 Kings ii. 24, 
And he turned back and looked on them, and cursed them in the 
name of the Lord ; and there came two she-bears out of the wood, and 
tare forty-two children of them in pieces. A prophet s curse is a dread 
ful thing. And will God put up all the affronts we put upon him, 
when we do despite to his Spirit and scorn his grace ? This was but 
a man, these but children ; yet when they scorned his ministry and 
function, as being bred up in idolatry; God will tear in pieces, and 
none to deliver. Take notice of God s curse on Cain : Gen. iii. 11, 
Now thou art cursed from the earth. He was the first-fruits of the 
reprobate, the patriarch of unbelievers, as Tertullian calleth him ; the 
first cursed man in the world ; and his curse was to be cast out of 
God s presence, ver. 14 ; a figure of what shall be done at the last day. 
It stuck close to him all his life ; yea, cursed Cain was sensible of it : 
My punishment is greater than I can bear. We are cursed again 
and again, Deut. xxvii. To every curse of the law they were to say 
Amen, to show the sure accomplishment of it. So certainly it will be ; 
it is just as certain: it is a subscription to the justice of it, and a 
profession of their faith. Am I a cursed creature by nature ? Are all 
his curses Yea and Amen, as well as his promises ? Oh ! what will 
become of me if I do not take hold of Christ ? So the curse on the 
builder of Jericho is remarkable : Josh. x. 6, Cursed be the man 
before the Lord that raiseth up and buildeth this city ; for he shall lay 
the foundation of it in his first-born, and in his younger son he shall 
build it up. And you shall see, 1 Kings xvi. 34, some hundred of 
years afterwards was this curse executed : Cursed is every one. Yet 
the sinner blesseth himself, and smileth in his heart, and thinketh 
none of this shall come upon him ; but after many years it breaketh 

[2.] We know not how soon God may take the advantage of this 


curse, and cut us off from the possibility of his grace. Christ cometh 
as a thief, and stealeth upon men ere they are aware. We are indebted 
to God s justice, and we know not how soon God may put the bond in 
suit. Other debts have a day set for payment : God may demand it 
before to-morrow : Gen. iv. 17, Sin lieth at the door, like a sergeant, 
to surprise us every hour ; and then we go to prison, and remain there 
till we have paid every farthing, Luke xii. Solomon wisheth a man to 
hasten out of debt as a bird out of the hand of the fowler, Prov. vi. 
5. A condemned malefactor, that is only reprieved during the pleasure 
of the prince, is in danger of execution every hour. Wrath breaketh 
out of a sudden. What provision have you made ? How stand mat 
ters between God and you? If a man were informed that his servants 
had a plot to take away his life, to carry away his treasure, which is 
speedily to be put in execution, he would not be quiet till he had rid 
his hands of them : so is sin. 

[3.] At the last day this curse is ratified by Christ s sentence : Go, 
ye cursed ; depart, ye cursed creatures. When others are acquitted 
by proclamation, as at the day of judgment, we receive our solemn 
discharge, Acts iii. 19 ; then your curse is revived before all the world, 
and as cursed creatures you lose all pity from God, men, and angels. 
As Adam was driven out of paradise with a bitter taunt, Gen. iii. 22, 
so with a terrible bann and proscription, that shall never be reversed. 

[4.] It shall be presently executed : Esther vii. 8, As soon as the 
word went out of the king s mouth, they covered Hainan s face. These 
are considerations to beget a feeling of wrath. 

2. Flee from it to Christ. Poor sinners, they stand in continual 
fear of execution. Oh ! fly to Christ, to get the sentence reversed. 

For motives to persuade us to come to Christ for help : 

[1.] Consider how willing mercy is to receive those that fly from 
the curse. This was God s design in shutting us up under the curse, 
that there might be no other way of escape : Rom. iii. 19, That every 
mouth might be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before 
God ; that we may become obnoxious, that we may acknowledge 
ourselves to be quite undone. So Gal. iii. 23, The scripture hath 
concluded all under sin; and Rom. xi. 32, For God hath concluded 
them all in unbelief. The law, in the name of God, arrests us, accuses 
us, convinceth us, leaving us dead (all preparations to damnation), 
that through the prison doors we may beg for mercy. He alloweth an 
appeal from court to court. 

[2.] With what honour to himself God may show us mercy. It is 
no wrong to appeal from the law to the gospel : Gal. iii. 13, Christ 
hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for 
us. Christ hath taken the curse into his own person : Ps. Ixix. 4, 
I restored that which I took not away ; that honour to God which 
he took not away. 

[3.] The great offence in refusing Christ, Heb. xii. 15. Esau was 
called a profane person, because he sold his birthright for a mess of 
pottage. He was no drunkard, no swearer. To refuse the Father s 
riches of wisdom and grace, the Son s self-denial and sufferings, is the 
greatest ingratitude that can be. When all the labours and wooings 
of the Spirit are in vain, it is the greatest spite we can do to God ; it 


is the greatest profaneness to set light by holy things, especially this 
great mystery, when we do not think it worthy our care and thoughts, 
Mat. xxii. 5. 


Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil 
and his angels. MAT. XXV. 41. 

Now we come to the sentence itself. There we shall first take notice 
of the poena damni, the loss, depart. 

The point is 

Doct. This is the hell of hells, that the reprobates must all depart, 
or lose the fruition of God in Christ. 

But before I begin to set forth this part of the punishment, let me 
observe something : 

1. In this part of the torment all are equal. There are degrees 
elsewhere, but here the reprobates are all equally excluded. Christ 
will thus profess, Mat. vii. 23, Depart from me, all ye workers of 
iniquity ; I know you not. 

2. It is the greatest part of the punishment. The punishment of 
sense is finite in nature, though infinite in duration. Though it be 
from the wrath of God, it is still according to the capacity of the 
creature. But poena damni is the privation of an infinite good. It is 
indeed a question which is the greater punishment, whether everlasting 
separation from God or everlasting torment ? whether depart, or 
everlasting fire ? According to the present state, pain is more sen 
sible than loss. In the bodily state we judge altogether by the senses ; 
but in the other world, when all objects are taken away, and there is 
a ceasing of temptations, and our judgments are mostly spiritual, there 
it is otherwise. The greatness of the punishment will appear : 

First, By the loss ; they shall lose all heaven s joys, the favourable 
presence of God, the sight of Christ, the company of the blessed, and 
their abode in those happy mansions which are in Christ s Father s 

1. The favourable presence of God. Hell is a deep dungeon, where 
the sunshine of God s presence never cometh. God is summum 
bonum, the chiefest good ; and in the other world, omne bonum, all in 
all. All things are immediate from God, comforts and punishments : 
Ps. xvi. 11, In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand 
are pleasures for evermore. Paul s departure, how grievous was it, 
when he said, Ye shall see my face no more ! Acts xix. 28. Better 
lose all things than God : Exod. xxxiii. 15, If thy presence go not 
up with us, carry us not hence. The appearance of the Son of God 
to the three children cast into Nebuchadnezzar s fiery furnace, how 
comfortable was it to them ! 

Object. Ay ! but this is not to be presupposed of the damned. Is 
it any grief to the wicked to want God, against whom they have such 
an extreme averseness and hatred ? I answer 


(1.) They are sensible of the loss of happiness ; their judgments are 
changed, though not renewed. Fogs of error, atheism, and unbelief 
then vanish, and they are convinced by experience. There are no 
atheists in hell ; they learn to prize happiness by bitter experience. 
As rational creatures, they cannot but be sensible of their loss, that 
know the worth of what is lost ; and so great a blessedness lost cannot 
but breed sadness and dejection of spirit. They look on God not as 
lovely in himself, but as one that might be profitable to them. Oculos 
quos occlusit culpa, aperiet poena. 

(2.) It would lessen their torments if their understandings might be 
taken away. By sad experience they know what it is to want God, 
though still their hatred of God remaineth. Heaven, that I am shut 
out of, is a blessing which others enjoy; Lazarus is in Abraham s 

2. The sight of Christ. They had a glimpse before they went into 
hell of the glory of his presence : 2 Thes. i. 9, They shall be punished 
with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord. That 
short experience of Christ s appearing will remain in their minds ; to 
all eternity it will stick by them, how they are thrust out. Christ 
himself, that hath the keys of death and hell, shall bid them go ; as if 
he had said, I cannot endure your presence any longer. 

3. From the company of the blessed : Luke xiii. 28, Ye shall see 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of 
God, and yourselves shut out. Envy is a part of their torment as well 
as their loss : Luke xvi. 27, And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in 
torments, and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in Abraham s 
bosom. It is a torment to think that others of the same nature and 
interest do enjoy what they have forfeited. 

4. Their abode in those happy mansions which are in Christ s 
Father s house : Kev. xxii. 14, 15, Blessed are they that do his com 
mandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter 
in through the gates into the city ; for without are dogs, and sorcerers, 
and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth 
and maketh a lie. 

Secondly, This loss is the more bitter and grievous because it is a 
loss of their own procuring. Forsaking of God was their sin, and now 
their misery. They first excommunicated God for a trifle : Job xxii. 
7, Depart from us ; we desire not the knowledge of God. Man is 
like the devil : Art thou come to torment us before our time ? Eom. 
i. 28, They did not like to retain God in their knowledge ; therefore, 
God gave them over to a reprobate mind. They abhorred the thoughts 
of God ; it was their burthen : The fool hath said in his heart, There 
is no God. Now they are filled with their own thoughts. Man was 
first a fugitive before he was an exile. 

Thirdly, The loss is irreparable. Despair is a constant ingredient 
to their sorrow. They cannot hope ever to be admitted into God s 
presence any more. There are many ups and downs in a Christian s 
experience. God hideth his face that he may show it afterwards the 
more gloriously. This is a curse that shall never be reversed. It was 
the church s prayer, Return again, and cause the light of thy coun 
tenance to shine on us. and we shall be saved, Ps. Ixxx. 19 ; like the 


sunshine after a cloudy night. But here are fogs of darkness for ever 
more. The sun is to shine no more on them to all eternity : 2 Peter 
ii. 17, To whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Hell 
is a region upon which the sun shall never shine. 

Use 1. Lay to heart your distance from God by nature. Let us not 
draw this great judgment upon ourselves. Our sin will be our tor 
ment. We are estranged from the womb, Isa. Iviii. 3. As a stream 
runneth away from the fountain further and further, so are we absent 
from God both in heart and affections as well as in state: Eph. ii. 13, 
Ye were afar off ; as the prodigal went into a far country. Thoughts 
of God are not only strangers, but unwelcome guests. The devils 
believe and tremble ; so we. Guilt will not suffer us to look God in 
the face, Ps. x. 4. 

2. Be not quiet till you come out of this estate by Christ ; he is the 
bridge between earth and heaven, John xiv. 6. There can be no 
familiarity between us and God, but through him, Luke xvi. 26. 
Christ is the ladder by which we ascend, the means of intercourse 
between God and us. When man was driven out of paradise, the 
tree of life was guarded by a flaming sword. There is no coming to 
God but by him, and he is able to save to the utmost, Heb. vii. 25. 

3. Avoid sin, that separateth between God and you, Isa. lix. 1, 2. 
How will you pray when you cannot look God in the face ? Fear fol- 
loweth guilt. The Israelites, when they had sinned, worshipped at 
their tent-door. You cannot come to God with such confidence. 

4. Let us often delight in communion with God and acquaint 
ance with him. It is heaven begun. Heaven is for God s familiars. 
Strangers here will not be owned ; and hereafter (Mat. vii. 23) Christ 
will say unto them, I know you not/ But Christ will take notice of 
his old friends. Oh ! then, love his presence, make him of your coun 
sel, your bosom friend. 

5. Live in a holy sensibleness of his accesses and recesses ; for his 
accesses, that you may be thankful ; for his recesses, to be humble. It is 
a question which is worst, not to take notice of his accesses or recesses, 
not to mourn for his absence or rejoice in his presence ; both are bad. 
Not to mourn for his absence is the worst sin, because absence is most 
sensible. In the present life, when our enjoyment of him is lost, it is 
a temporary hell ; yet it is foul ingratitude not to take notice of his 
presence, when he counselleth you in doubts, guideth you in straits. 
God will have his acts of familiarity to be observed ; it is his complaint, 
Hosea xi. 3, I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; 
but they knew not that I healed them. The one argueth little feel 
ing, the other little gratitude ; only want of feeling is the worser sign, 
for that is a sign of deadness. When God suspends all acts of fami 
liarity, some are stupid and insensible, so they can take up with the 
comforts of the creature ; they never mind spiritual visits. Micah 
mourned for his gods. Love is discovered by grief in want, as well as 
delight in enjoyment. The main of Christianity lieth in observing 
how it is between us and God. When actual influences are suspended, 
either of grace or comfort, when prayer finds not such an answer, and 
when we do not find such excitation to holy duties, and God hideth 
himself from our prayers. 


We have handled the loss. Now we come, secondly, to speak of the 
pain. There are sad gripes at the parting of the soul and body ; what 
then will there be at the parting of the soul and Christ, when the 
terror of Christ s face shall banish them out of his presence ? 

Secondly, The pcena sensus. Here I shall take notice of 

1. The nature of the torment, fire. 

2. The aggravation from the duration, everlasting. 

3. The company and society, prepared for the devil and his angels. 
The nature of the torment, fire. By fire is not meant material or 

ordinary fire ; that cannot hurt spirits. Now this is such a fire as is 
prepared for the devil and his angels. All the other expressions are 
metaphorical, the wood, the brimstone, the lake, the smoke, the worm, 
the chains ; and why not this ? But observe, though it be not fire, 
yet it noteth real and horrible torments, such as are more painful than 
fire. It is called wrath to come/ 1 Thes. i. 10, because there was 
never such wrath before. The Holy Ghost useth such expressions as 
we are acquainted with. 

1. The extremity of these pains cannot be told us. Fire is an active, 
furious element, the pain most searching, and no fire more scalding 
than brimstone ; to sense that is most grievous and bitter. But the 
pains of hell surpass all that is spoken. Look, as when heaven is set 
out by gold and pearls and precious stones the joys there are much 
above these shadows so all notions come short of hell. 

2. The whole man is under the pains of it, both body and soul ; 
both are fellows in sin, and both are punished. It appeareth partly 
from scripture : Mat. x. 28, Fear not him that can kill the body, but 
fear him that can destroy both body and soul in hell. Mark, not only 
the soul, but the body. The body is not only the instrument, but the 
occasion of many sins ; the law in the members, brutish motions of 
lusts ; the eye is fed with lust ; therefore the body hath its share. 

[1.] For the body ; what the torment shall be we cannot tell ; the 
scripture is silent ; only, in the general, that it shall have its share of 
punishment, is certain ; and not only by the grief and anguish of the 
soul, but the pain residing in the body. As the saints have not only 
a happiness for their souls, but their bodies ; their vile bodies shall be 
changed. At the day of judgment, when their bodies are united to 
their souls, their torments are increased. Here in the text it is said, 
Depart ye ; the whole man, no part free. There is a place of tor 
ment, as we proved before, as well as a state of torment; therefore 
the body hath its inconveniences : their eyes meet with nothing but 
affrighting spectacles, the devils and the damned. Every time they 
look on their tempter, it revives their guilt ; as the saints, when they 
look on their Kedeemer, it filleth their hearts full of love and adora 
tion. What see they but devils to torture them, or other damned 
tormented with them? Wives and children through their negligence, 
or neighbours by their cursed example, brought into this place of tor 
ment. Their ears are filled with nothing but yellings and howlings, 
and hideous outcries. More particularly I shall not define. 

[2.] For the soul ; the soul s evils arise from a lively and effectual 
sense of the wrath of God, and the gnawings of conscience. There is 
a fire and a worm, Mark ix. 44, the wrath of God and the horrors of 


conscience. There is an allusion to the worms that breed in dead 
bodies, and the fire wherewith they were burned. 

First, Let us speak a little of the worm that breedeth. The worm of 
conscience consisteth in three things. There is (1.) Memoria prceteri- 
torum ; (2.) Sensus prcesentium ; (3.) Metus futurorum. All the 
periods and distinctions of time yield matter of sorrow and anguish to 
them, past, present, and to come. 

1. Conscience worketh on what is past, the remembrance of their 
former enjoyments. Miserum est dixisse, fuisse beatos. It is the 
miserablest thing that can be to outlive our happiness ; to think of 
what we once enjoyed, but now want : Luke xvi. 25, Son, remember that 
thou in thy lifetime receivedest thy good things. Thy day is past, now 
no more pleasures, now all thy carnal delights are spent. The riches 
of God s goodness that I despised, I shall enjoy no more. The reflec 
tion on past comforts: I was thus and thus, but where hath sin 
brought me ! The very remembrance will aggravate their present 
misery, especially when the memory shall be quickened by conscience 
to consider their ingratitude ; their carnal confidence, how they 
neglected God in the abundance of all things, and nothing remaineth 
but the sin of their comforts and the curse. Where now are all your 
stately houses, pleasant gardens, costly tables, furnished with delicious 
meats ? your gorgeous and pompous apparel, your merry meetings ? 
These things I have enjoyed, but now they are come to their full and 
final period 

2. The time wasted ; this is a commodity never valued till it be lost, 
and then it cannot be recovered. In hell they see the folly of it ; the 
misspense of time is a killing circumstance. Experience maketh us 
value time. The horrors of the damned may be guessed at by the 
complaints of the dying. Oh ! for a little time ! If they had but 
one year, one month more. Here men are prodigal of nothing so 
much as time, as if they had more than they could tell what to do 
with ; but when they come to die, Oh ! if God would spare them a 
little longer ! 

3. Especially opportunities of grace slighted. God reckoneth to a 
day, how long, how often, he hath warned them : Luke xiii. 7, These 
three years came I seeking fruit from this fig-tree, but behold I find 
none; cut it down. Here is Christ s righteous expectation, These 
three years came I seeking fruit ; their ungrateful frustration, But 
I find none ; and then his final denunciation, Cut it down/ "When 
ever God reckoneth with a people, he reckoneth with them for time 
and opportunities of grace. Did not I warn you ? What means we 
have had, and offers of grace, God s drawing nigh to us in an accept 
able time ! Every sermon will sting our conscience. There was a 
fair advantage ; it is good to feel the worm while it may be killed, to 
take notice of checks of conscience for the present, and the motions of 
God s Spirit ; this is a spark that will not be quenched. 

4. The folly of their own choice. Men will not see now, but they 
shall see : Isa. xxvi. 11. Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will 
not see ; but they shall see, and be ashamed. Their understandings 
are cleared to know the worth of things, and their eyes opened, when 
it is too late : Jer. xvii. 11, At his latter end he shall be a fool. He 


was a fool all his lifetime to neglect God for a trifle, but now he is a 
fool in the judgment of his own heart. If I had been as active for 
God as for my lusts, it would have been otherwise with me. Tempta 
tions are gone, lusts are gone : The world passeth away, and the 
lusts thereof. There is no relish of pleasures in hell, if they could 
have them ; they have now the bitter experience of the cost they have 
been at, therefore sadly reflect upon their folly. Conviction heightens 
their torment : Jer. ii. 17-19, Hast thou not procured this unto thy 
self, in that thou hast forsaken the Lprd thy God, when he led thee 
by the way ? And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to 
drink the waters of Sihor ? or what hast thou to do in the way of 
Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? Thine own wickedness 
shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: Know 
therefore and see, that it is an evil thing and a bitter that thou hast 
forsaken the Lord thy God/ This is your way in the valley ; as when 
children burn, and feel the gripes of a disease, we upbraid them, This 
is your eating of raw fruit. Experience maketh them feel the smart 
of it. 

2. There is the sense of their present pain. Here, when we are 
corrected, we are senseless, like stocks and stones ; but there must 
needs be feeling, because there is nothing to mitigate their torment, 
.no carnal comforts wherein to steep conscience, no carnal companions 
that can be a comfort to us : the more we look upon them, the more 
we see our own sorrow by reflection. There is nothing left but indig 
nation and impatience, and gnawing their tongues because of their 
anguish. Their discontent is part of their torment. 

3. For the future, their condition is hopeless. If there could be 
hope in hell, the punishment would be the better borne ; but there 
remaineth nothing but a fearful looking for of the fiery indignation of 
God/ Heb. x. 27. And it is a living God, who liveth for ever and 
ever, that is their enemy. Oh ! who can think of it without astonish 
ment ? When they have run through thousands of years they still 
expect more. It is tedious to think of a short fit of pain of the stone 
or gout ; but that is for ever. They endure all at once by thinking of 
what is to come. 

Again, there is the fire, or an active sense of the wrath of God. 
Consider the greatness of it in these circumstances : 

1. God hath an immediate hand in the sufferings of the wicked : 
Heb. x. 33, It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living 
God. The wicked fall immediately into his hands ; the quarrel is his 
own, therefore he will take revenge by his immediate power. No 
creature is strong enough to convey all his wrath, as a bucket cannot 
contain an ocean. Man s anger is like himself, weak and finite, but 
God s is infinite : Ps. xc. 11, Who knoweth the power of thine anger ? 
Surely we do not consider what it is to fall into God s hands. 

2. God sets himself a-work to see what he can do, and what a 
creature can bear. The capacity of the creature is enlarged to the 
utmost: Eom. ix. 22, What if God, willing to show his wrath, and 
make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels 
of wrath fitted to destruction ? His justice decreeth it, his wisdom 
designeth it, and his power executeth it. He falleth upon us as an 

VOL. x. G 


enemy to the utmost ; with one hand he upholdeth the creature, and 
with the other punisheth it. Here he showeth what a creature can do 
when armed by him, hereafter what he can do himself : Ps. Ixxviii. 39, 
For he remembered they were but flesh ; he did not stir up all his 
wrath. It doth not break out in its full weight and force. 

3. Consider some instances of God s wrath : When his anger is 
kindled but a little, blessed are all they that put their trust in him, 
Ps. ii. 12. In corrective discipline, when God s children fall into any 
disease, the burnings of a fever, the gripes of the cholic, the torment 
of the stone, they cannot endure two or three days pain ; how wilt 
thou dwell with devouring burnings ? These are nothing to the sharp 
punishments of hell on the body. Poor creatures are at their wits 
end when but a spark or flash of this fire lighteth into the conscience. 
Judas hanged himself, Job cursed the day of his birth ; yet this is but 
a drop ; these corne from hell, they have been in the suburbs of it. 
Dives wished that Lazarus might but dip the tip of his finger in water 
to cool his tongue ; these are warnings, they can tell you what a 
dreadful thing it is. The Lord Christ, who was the Son of God, 
perfect in faith and patience, he wanted no courage, he was under no 
despair in the midst of his agonies, yet he cried out, My God, my 
God, why hast thou forsaken me ? Oh ! what will become of them 
whose portion it is ? Thus for the nature. 

Secondly, The duration, everlasting fire. The pains of hell are 

1. The moral reasons of it are 

[1.] Partly because our obligations to God are infinite. In a way 
of love, God hath done as much as he could. We turn the back upon 
eternal happiness which was offered in the gospel. They can never 
restore the honour to God which they have deprived him of, therefore 
their punishment is for evermore: the justice of God can never be 
satisfied by a finite creature. Believers do it in Christ, but the wicked 
are in their final estate. 

[2.] They still remain impenitent ; the damned are not changed in 
hell. Melted metal groweth hard again : the bad thief, that had one 
foot in hell, dieth blaspheming ; their judgments are changed, but not 
their hearts. If one should come from the dead, he might speak to 
you of eternity, and that in hell they suffer eternal punishments. 

2. The natural reasons are 

[1.] The fire continueth for ever, Heb. x. 33 ; the breath of the 
Lord still keepeth the flame burning ; the fuel continueth for ever, and 
wicked men continue for ever ; they consume not, but are immortal in 
body and soul. Oh ! think of this ! there is no end, no intermission. 
No end ; the fire on Sodom lasted but a day ; but when the wicked 
have lain in hell a thousand years, it is but as the first day. When 
a man is sick, he tumbleth and tosseth, and telleth the hours of the 
night, and wisheth it were day. We are wont to think a sermon long, 
a prayer long ; what will hell be ? Conscience will ever be talking to 
thee, repeating over the story of thy life, and putting thee in remem 
brance of the wrath of God that endureth for ever. And 

[2.] It is without intermission : Eev. xx. 10, They shall be tor 
mented day and night, for ever and ever/ Not a drop to cool their 


tongues. Here sin is everlasting ; all day it runneth in the mind, and 
all night it playeth in the fancy. Wicked men begin the morning with 
it, and end the day with it. Man is ever haunted with his own horrors; 
and the wrath of God inflicted upon him. 

Thirdly, The next aggravation is, it is prepared for the devil and 
his angels ; for them principally, and others to bear them company : 
Satan, and all that are seduced by him, are tormented together. There 
is a principality among the devils, one that was chief and ringleader 
in the rebellion against God, he and his angels ; and then wicked men 
make up the company in that region of darkness. It was a sad 
judgment on Nebuchadnezzar when he was turned out among the 
beasts ; but the cursed of the Lord are turned out among <"! .Is. If a 
man knew a house were haunted, he would not lie in it for a night. 
You must keep company with Satan and his angels for evermore. 
The saints enjoy God, and have the company of good angels ; but you 
must dwell with devils. If the devil should appear to thee in some 
terrible shape, would not thy fyeart fail thee ? Thou canst not look 
upon any in hell but thou must remember enemies to thy soul as well 
as to God. 

Use 1. This should make us consider the folly of sinners, that will 
run this hazard for a little temporal satisfaction ; for as he cried out, 
For how short a pleasure have I lost a kingdom! when he had 
parted with his sovereignty for a draught of water ; so you, out of a 
desire of present contentment, forfeit heaven, and run the hazard of 
eternal torments. When thou art about to sin, think of this. We 
need all kind of helps. 

1. To stir us up to godliness. If men were as they should be, 
sweet arguments would be enough; but now we need the scourge. 
It is good to counterbalance any temptation, when it is violent. My 
heart will call me fool to all eternity. Can I dwell with everlasting 
burnings ? 

2. To rouse us up to the consideration of our natural misery. 

[1.] Partly that we may flee from the wrath to come/ Mat. iii. 7. 
There is no way but by Jesus Christ. We need every day to look 
back. In their flight to Zoar they were not to look back upon Sodom, 
lest there should be relentings kindled. But it is good to look back 
in this sense ; we shall see nothing but fire and brimstone behind us. 

[2.] That we may be thankful to Christ: 1 Thes. i. 10, Even 
Jesus, which hath delivered us from wrath to come. He was sub 
stituted in our room and place ; he suffered a kind of hell in his own 
soul, or else this must have been our portion. 

Use 2. Are we of the number ? There is a catalogue of the 
damned crew : Kev. xxi. 8; But the fearful, and unbelieving, and 
abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and 
idolaters, and all liars, have their part in the lake that burneth with 
fire and brimstone. The fearful ; such as, for the fear of men, swerve 
from the holy profession and practice of godliness. The unbelieving ; 
all that remain in an impenitent estate. Abominable, murderers, 
whoremongers ; impure gnostics, such as ranters : 1 Cor. vi. 9, Be 
not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor 
effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor 


covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit 
the kingdom of God. Is there any likelihood of deceit there. Cor 
rupt nature is always devising one shift or another wherein to harden 
conscience. Idolaters; it is dangerous not to be right in worship. 
The covetous cometh in, Gal. v. 5, Nor covetous man, who is an 
idolater : let no man deceive you ; for because of these things, the 
wrath of God cometh upon the children of disobedience. We think 
it a small matter. All liars ; not only the gross liar, but the heretic ; 
as heresy is called a lie : it is good to keep to the pattern of sound 
words. The hypocrite s hell is his portion: Mat. xxiv. 51, Appoint 
him his portion with the hypocrites : there shall be weeping and 
gnashing of teeth. Hypocrisy, it is a practical lie. 


And these shall go away into everlasting punishment : but the 
righteous into life eternal. MAT. XXV. 46. 

THE words are a conclusion of a notable scheme and draft which 
Christ gives us of the last judgment. In that day there will be (1.) 
A congregation ; (2.) A segregation ; (3.) A discussion of the cause ; 
(4.) A solemn doom and sentence, both of absolution and condemna 
tion ; (5.) And, lastly, execution, without which the whole process of 
that day would be but a solemn and useless pageantry. The execu 
tion is in the text ; wherein observe 

First, A distinction of the persons ; these and the righteous. See 
the last sermon on 2 Cor. v. 10. 

Secondly, As there are different persons, so different recompenses. 
.See 2 Cor. v. 10. 

Thirdly, Observe, these different recompenses are dispensed with 
respect to the different qualifications and state of the persons judged, 
as their case shall appear upon trial, according to their works. Some 
are wicked, and others righteous: God must needs deal differently 
with them 

1. To show the holiness of his nature. The holy God delighteth 
in holiness and holy persons, and hateth sin and the workers of ini 
quity ; and therefore will not deal with the one as he dealeth with the 
other. Both parts of his holiness are spoken of in scripture, his delight 
in holy things and persons. See the fourth sermon on 2 Cor. v. 10. 

2. The righteousness of his government requireth that there should 
be a different proceeding with the godly and the wicked ; that every 
man should reap according to what he hath sown, whether he hath 
sown according to the flesh or the spirit ; that the fruit of his doings 
should be given into his bosom. And this, though it be not evident 
in this life, where good and evil is promiscuously dispensed, because 
now is the time of God s patience and our trial, yet, in the life to 
come, when God will judge the world in righteousness, Acts xvii. 31, 


it is necessary that it should go well with the good and ill with the 
bad ; or, as the apostle saith, 2 Thes. i. 6, 7, It is a righteous thing 
with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you, and to 
you that are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus Christ shall 
be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels. Mark, both parts 
of the recompense belong to the righteousness of his government, 
to give rest to the troubled, as well as tribulation to the troublers. 
Indeed, with the one he dealeth in strict justice ; to the other he 
dispenseth a reward of grace. Yet that also belongeth to his right 
eousness ; that is, his new-covenant righteousness ; for so it is said, 
Heb. vi. 10, God is not unrighteous, to forget your work and labour 
of love ; as he hath bound himself by gracious promise to give life 
and glory to the penitent, obedient, and faithful. 

3. The graciousness of his rewarding mercy and free love to his 
faithful servants. Though they were involved in the same condemna 
tion with others as to their original and first estate, and the merit of 
their evil actions, and the constant imperfection of their best works ; 
yet since it was the sincere bent of their hearts to serve and honour 
God, he will give them a crown of life. They might have perished 
everlastingly, as others do, if God should enter into a strict judg 
ment with them. But when others receive the fruit of their doings, 
he dealeth graciously with them, pardoning their failings, and accept 
ing them in the Beloved. God is not bound in justice, from the right 
and merit of their actions, to reward them that have done him most 
faithful service, but merely of his grace upon the account of Christ : 
1 Peter i. 13, Hoping unto the end for the grace that is to be brought 
unto you at the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ ; and Jude 21, 
* Looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life ; 
and 2 Tim. i. 18, The Lord grant that he may find mercy of the 
Lord in that day, namely, when the Lord shall judge the quick and 
the dead, and shall distribute punishments and rewards. In some 
measure we see grace here, but never so fully and perfectly as then. 

[1.] Partly because now we have not so full a view of our unworthi- 
ness as when our actions are scanned, and all things are brought to 
light whether they be good or evil. And 

[2.] Partly because there is not so full and large a manifestation of 
God s favour now, as there is in our full and final reward. It is grace 
now that he is pleased to pass by our offences, and to take us into his 
family, and give us some taste of his love, and a right to his heavenly 
kingdom ; but then it is another manner of grace and favour, when 
our pardon shall be pronounced by our Judge s own mouth, and 
he shall not only take us into his family, but into his immediate 
presence and heavenly palace ; not only give us a right, but possession : 
Come, ye blessed of my Father ; inherit the kingdom prepared for 
you ; and shall not only have some remote service and ministration, 
but be everlastingly employed in loving, and delighting in, and praising 
of God. This is grace indeed. The grace of God, or his free favour to 
sinners, is never seen in all its glory or graciousness till then. And it 
is the more amplified, when we see how God dealeth with others, who 
as to natural endowments were every way as acceptable as ourselves ; 
and, as to spirituals, grace alone making the difference. 


Fourthly, Observe, first, the wicked are described by sins of omis 
sion ; as ver. 42, 43. Those that have not visited, not clothed, not fed, 
not harboured ; these shall go into everlasting punishment. But the 
righteous, by their faithfulness in good works, or acts of self-denying 
obedience, shall go into life eternal. 

1. The wicked by their omission of necessary duties. Because we 
think omissions no sins, or light sins, I shall take this occasion to 
show the heinousness of them. Sins are commonly distinguished 
into (1.) Sins of omission ; and (2.) Sins of commission. 

[1.] A sin of commission is when we do those things which we 
ought not to do. 

[2.] A sin of omission is when we leave undone those things which 
we ought to do. But when we look more narrowly into these things, 
we shall find both in every actual sin ; for in that we commit any 
thing against the law of God, we omit our duty ; and the omitting of 
our duty can hardly fall out but that something is preferred before the 
love of God ; and that is a commission. But yet there is a ground 
for the distinction ; because when anything is directly and formally 
against the negative precept and prohibition, that is a sin of commis 
sion ; but when we directly sin against an affirmative precept, that is 
an omission. An instance we have in Eli and his sons. Eli s sons 
defiled themselves with the women that assembled at the door of the 
tabernacle of the congregation, 1 Sam. ii. 22 ; but Eli himself sinned 
in that he restrained them not/ 1 Sam. iii. 13. His sin was an 
omission ; their sin was a commission. Now, that sins of commission 
may be great sins, appeareth 

(1.) Partly by the nature of them ; for there is in them the general 
nature of all sin. It is avopia, 1 John iii. 4, a transgression of a law, 
or a disobedience to God ; and so, by consequence, a contempt of his 
authority. We cry out upon Pharaoh when we hear him saying, 
Exod. v. 2, Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice ? And 
by interpretation we all say so. This language is in every sin we 
commit, and in every duty we omit. Our negligence is not simple 
negligence, but downright disobedience ; because it is the breach of 
an express precept and charge which God hath given us. Now 
when we make no reckoning of it, we do in effect say, Who is the 
the Lord, that I should obey him ? There may be much disobedience 
in a bare omission. When Saul had not done what God bade him to 
do, he telleth him, That rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and 
stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry, 1 Sam. xv. 23 ; implying that 
omission to be stubbornness and rebellion, parallel to idolatry and 

(2.) By the causes. In the general, corrupt nature ; but the parti 
cular causes are 

(1st.) Idleness. They do not stir up themselves, Isa. Ixiv. 7. 

(2dly.) Security, Jer. ii. 31, 32. 

(3dly.) Want of love to God : Isa. xliii. 22, But thou hast not 
called upon me, Jacob ; thou hast been weary of me, Israel ; 
Rev. ii. 4, Nevertheless I have something against thee, because thou 
hast left thy first love. And 

(4thly.) Zeal for his glory : Not slothful in business, but fervent 


in spirit, serving the Lord/ Rom. xii. 11. Where there is a fervour, 
we cannot be idle and neglectful of our duty. 

(3.) By the effects ; and they are 

(1st.) Internal. There is a sad withering: 1 Thes. v. 19, Quench 
not the Spirit. Or 

(2d.) External. It bringeth on many temporal judgments. God 
puts by Saul from being king for a sin of omission : 1 Sam. xv. 11, 
It repenteth me for setting up Saul to be king ; for he hath not done 
the thing which I commanded him. For this he puts by Eli s house 
from the priesthood : 1 Sam. iii. 13, I will judge his house for ever, 
for the iniquity which he knoweth ; because his sons made themselves 
vile, and he restrained them not. That omission was not total ; for he 
reproved them, but did not punish them. 

(3d.) Eternal : Mat. xxv. 30, Cast the unprofitable servant into 
utter darkness. So Mat. vii. 19, Every tree that bringeth not 
forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire ; if it bringeth 
not forth good fruit, though not bad or poisonous fruit. For these 
sins Christ condemneth the wicked in the text. By all these argu 
ments it appeareth that sins of omission may be great sins. But 

2. That some sins of omission are greater than others. All are not 
alike. As 

[1.] The more necessary the duties are : Heb. ii. 3, How shall we 
escape, if we neglect so great salvation ? &c. ; 1 Cor. xvi. 22, If any 
man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha. 
These are p eccata contra remedium, as others are contra officium. 
By other sins we make the wound ; by these we refuse the plaster. 

[2.] If the omission be total : Jer. x. 25, Pour out thy fury upon 
the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not 
on thy name ; Ps. xiv. 2, None seeketh after God. 

[3.] If a duty be seasonable ; the feeding the hungry, &c., as ver. 
44-, When saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger ? &c. ; 
and 1 John iii. 17, He that hath this world s good, and seeth his 
brother in need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, 
how dwelleth the love of God in him ? " 

[4 ] When it is easy. This is to stand with God for a trifle : Luke 
xvi. 24, And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, 
and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and 
cool my tongue ; for I am tormented in this flame. Desideravit gut- 
tarn, qui non dedit micam. 

[5.] When convinced : James iv. 17, Therefore, to him that 
knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin/ 

3. In many cases, sins of omission may be more heinous and damn 
ing than sins of commission. They are the ruin of the most part of 
the carnal world. They are described to be without God/ Eph. ii. 
12. Of the wicked within the pale it is said, Ps. x. 3, 4, The wicked, 
through the pride of his heart, will not seek after God ; God is not in 
all his thoughts. Of the careless professor, Jer. ii. 32, My people 
have forgotten me days without number/ Sins of omission may be 
more heinous than sins of commission 

[1.] Partly because these harden more. Foul sins scourge the con 
science with remorse and shame, but these bring on insensibly slight- 


ness and hardness of heart. And therefore Christ saith, Publicans 
and harlots should enter into the kingdom of God before Pharisees 
that neglected faith, love, and judgment, Mat. xxi. 31. 

[2.] Partly because omissions make way for commissions : Ps. xiv. 
4, they that called not upon God, did eat up his people as bread. 
They lie open to gross sins that do not keep the heart tender by a 
daily attendance upon God. If a man do not that which is good, he 
will soon do that which is evil. Oh ! then, let us bewail our unpro 
fitableness, that we do no more good, that we do so much neglect God, 
that we do no more edify our neighbour, so that God s best gifts lie 
idle upon our hands. That child is counted undutiful that doth 
wrong and beat his father ; so also he that giveth him not due rever 
ence. How seldom do we think of God ! Every relation puts new 
duties upon us, but we little regard them ; every gift, every talent. 

Again, secondly, The godly by their fruitfulness in good works, 
and acts of self-denying obedience. They fed, they refreshed, they 
harboured, they clothed, they visited, ver. 35, 36. The question is 
not, Have you heard, prayed, preached ? These are disclaimed : 
Mat. vii. 22, Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have 
we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, 
and in thy name have done many wonderful works ? And then will I 
profess unto them, I never knew you : depart from me, ye that work 
iniquity ; Luke xiii. 26, Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten 
and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets ; but 
he shall say, I tell you, I know you not ; depart frorn me, all ye 
workers of iniquity. Nay, nor have you believed: James ii. 20, 
Wilt thou know, vain man, that faith without works is dead ? 
No ; Christ telleth us of another trial. Well, then, a religion that 
costs nothing is worth nothing. A notional religion, a word religion, 
is not a Christianity of Christ s making. Surely heaven is worth 
something, and it will cost us something if we mean to get thither. 
There is more in these works of costly charity than we usually think 
of, 1 Tim. vi. 18, 19 ; Luke xvi. 9 ; 1 John iv. 19, Hereby we know 
that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him/ 
Hereby ; by what ? If we love not in word and tongue only, but in 
deed and in truth. Kefresh the bowels of the poor, own brethren 
though with danger of our lives. Heaven is but a fancy to them that 
will venture nothing for the hopes of it. What have you done to show 
your thankfulness for so great a mercy tendered to you ? A cold be 
lief and a fruitless profession will never yield you comfort. Good 
words are not dear, and a little countenance given to religion costs no 
great matter ; and therefore do not think that religion lieth only in 
hearing sermons, or a few cursory prayers and drowsy devotions. We 
should mind those things about which we shall be questioned at the 
day of judgment. Have you visited, fed, clothed, harboured, owned 
the servants of God, when the world hath frowned on them ? Com 
forted them in their distresses? Wherein really have you denied 
yourselves for the hopes of glory ? 

Fifthly, Observe the notions whereby their different estate in the 
other world is expressed, punishment and life. See sermon last, on 
2 Cor. v. 10. 


Sixthly, Observe, eternity is affixed to both ; everlasting punish 
ment and eternal life. See last sermon on 2 Cor. v. 10. 

Seventhly, Observe, these are spoken of not only as threatened, but 
executed. When the cause hath been sufficiently tried and cleared, 
and sentence passed, there will be execution. The execution is 
certain, speedy, and unavoidable. See last sermon on 2 Cor. v. 10. 

Eightly, Observe, sentence is executed on the wicked first. It 
beginneth with them, for it is said, These shall go away into ever 
lasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal. Now this is 
not merely because the order of the narration did so require it. See 
last sermon on 2 Cor. v. 10. 

The Use is to press us (1.) To believe these things ; (2.) Seriously 
to consider of them. 

1. To believe them. Most men s faith about the eternal recom 
penses is but pretended, at best too cold and speculative, an opinion 
rather than a sound belief, as appeareth by the little fruit and effect 
that it hath upon us ; for if we had such a sight of them as we have of 
other things, we should be other manner of persons than we are, in all 
holy conversation and godliness. We see how cautious- man is in 
tasting meat in which he doth suspect harm, that it will breed in him 
the pain and torments of the stone and gout or cholic ; I say, though 
it be but probable the things will do us any hurt. We know certainly 
that the wages of sin is death, yet we will be tasting forbidden fruit. 
If a man did but suspect a house were falling, he would not stay in it 
an hour. We know for certain that continuance in a carnal estate 
will be our eternal ruin ; yet who doth flee from wrath to come ? If 
we have but a little hope of gain, we will take pains to obtain it. 
We know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord. Why do we 
not abound in his work ? 1 Cor. xv. 58. Surely we would do more 
to prevent this misery, to obtain this happiness, when we may do it 
upon such easy terms, and have so fair an opportunity in our hands ; 
if we were not strangely stupefied, we would not go to hell to save our 
selves a labour. There are two things which are very, wondrous : 

[1.] That any should suspect the Christian faith, so clearly promised 
in the predictions of the prophets before it was set afoot, and confirmed 
with such a number of miracles after it was set afoot ; received among 
the nations with so universal a consent in the learned part of the 
world, notwithstanding the meanness of the instruments first employed 
in it, and perpetuated to us throughout so many successions of ages, 
who have had experience of the truth and benefit of it ; that now in 
the latter end of time, any should suspect this faith, and think it a 
fond credulity, is a wonder indeed. 

[2.] But a greater wonder by far is it that any should embrace the 
Christian faith and yet live sinfully ; that they should believe as chris- 
tians, and yet live as atheists. You cannot drive a dull ass into the 
fire that is kindled before him : Surely in vain is the net spread in the 
sight of any bird. How can men believe eternal torments, and yet 
with so much boldness and easiness run into the sins that do deserve 
them ? Many times they are not compelled by any terror, nor asked 
by any tempter, nor invited by any temptation ; but of their own 
accord seek out occasions of their ruin. On the other side, can a man 


believe heaven and do nothing for it ? If we know that it will not be 
lost labour, there is all the reason we should not grudge at it. 

2. Seriously consider of these things. The scripture everywhere 
calleth for consideration : Ps. 1. 22, Consider this, ye that forget 
God ; Isa. i. 3, My people will not consider. Many that have faith 
do not set it a-work by lively thoughts. Knowledge is asleep, and 
differeth little from ignorance and oblivion, till consideration awaken 
it. If we were at leisure to think of eternity, it would do us good to 
think of this double motive that every man must be judged to ever 
lasting joy or everlasting torment. These things are propounded for 
our benefit and instruction. We are guarded on both sides ; we have 
the bridle of fear and the spur of hope. If God had only terrified us 
from sin by mentioning inexpressible pains and horrors, we might be 
frighted, and stand at a distance from it ; but when we have such 
encouragements to good, and God propoundeth such unspeakable joys, 
this should quicken our diligence. If God had only promised heaven, 
and threatened no hell, wicked men would count it no great matter to 
lose heaven, provided that they might be annihilated ; but seeing there 
is both, and both for ever, shall we be cold and dead ? We are un 
done for ever if wicked, blessed for ever if godly. What should we 
not do that we may be everlastingly blessed, and avoid everlasting 
misery ? 

Well, then, let this be considered by us seriously and often and 
deeply, that everlasting woe and weal is in the case. Meat well 
chewed nourisheth the more, but being swallowed whole breedeth 
crudities ; so when we swallow truths without rumination or consi 
deration, we do not feel the virtue of them ; they do not excite our 
diligence, nor break the force of temptations : Oh ! that they were 
wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter 
end, 5 Deut. xxxii. 29. I have read of a prodigal prince, that when he 
had given away a huge sum of money, they laid all the money into a 
heap before him, that he might see and consider what he had given 
away, to bring him to retract, or in part to lessen the grant. So it is 
good for us to consider what we lose in losing eternity, what we part 
with for these vile and perishing things. 






TJiese ivords spake Jesus, and lift up his eyes to heaven, and said, 
FatJier, the hour is come ; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may 
glorify thee.JoH^ XVII. 1. 

I SHALL, in the following exercises, open to you Christ s solemn prayer 
recorded in this chapter a subject worthy of our reverence and serious 
meditations. The Holy Ghost seemeth to put a mark of respect upon 
this prayer above other prayers which Christ conceived in the days of 
his flesh. Elsewhere the scripture telleth us that Christ prayed ; but 
the form is not expressed, or else only brief hints are delivered, but this 
is expressed at large. This was, as it were, his dying blaze. Natural 
motion is swifter and stronger in the end ; so was Christ s love hottest 
and strongest in the close of his life ; and here you have the eruption 
and flame of it. He would now open to us the bottom of his heart, 
and give us a copy of his continual intercession. This prayer is a 
standing monument of Christ s affection to the church ; it did not pass 
away with the external sound, or as soon as Christ ascended into 
heaven, and sat at the right hand of the Father ; it retaineth a per 
petual efficacy ; the virtue remaineth, though the words be over. As 
the word of creation hath retained its vigour these five or six thousand 
years : Increase and multiply, and let the earth bring forth after its 
kind ; so the voice of this turtle is ever heard, and Christ s prayers 
retain their vigour and force, as if but newly spoken. 

In this prayer he mentions all blessings and privileges necessary for 
the church. He prayeth for himself, for the apostles, for all believers. 
He begmneth with his own glorification, as the foundation ; and goeth 
on to seek the welfare of the apostles, as the means ; and then the com 
fort of believers, as the fruit of his administrations in the world. 
Christ s merit, the apostles word, the believers comfort, are three 
things of the highest consideration in religion. I shall open these in 
the order and method in which they are laid down. 

In the first verse we have : 

1. The preface to the whole prayer, these things said Jesus, &c. 


2. Christ s free request, glorify thy Son ; which is backed with 
reasons taken from 

1.] His special relation, Father, and thy Son. 
2.J His present necessity, the hour is come. 
~3.] The aim of his request, that thy Son also may glorify thee. 
I shall go over the phrases as they are offered in the order of the 

These things spake Jesus; that is, when he had spoken these 
things. This clause serveth 

1. To show the order of the history ; his prayer followed his fare 
well sermon. 

2. The suitableness of his prayers to the sermon. The points there 
enforced are here commended to God in prayer. It were easy to suit 
the requests to the consolations and instructions of that sermon. From 

[1.] Observe how fitly Christ dischargeth the office of a mediator. 
The office of a mediator, or day s-man, is to lay his hand upon both/ 
Job ix. 33 ; to treat and deal with both parties. Hitherto Christ hath 
dealt with men in the name of God, opening his counsel to us ; now he 
dealeth with God in the name of men, opening our case to him. As 
Moses, the typical mediator, was to speak to God, Exod. xix. 19, and 
from God, Exod. xx. 19, so did our Lord speak from God and to God. 
He still performeth the same work and office. He speaketh to us in 
the word, and for us in prayer. The word never works till we hear 
Christ speaking in it : 2 Cor. xiii. 3, Since ye seek a proof of Christ 
speaking in me ; and our prayers are not accepted, but by virtue of 
Christ s intercession. Those that made their addresses to King Ad- 
metus, brought the prince with them in their arms ; or as Joseph 
charged his brethren that they should not see his face unless they 
brought Benjamin with them, their brother; we cannot see God s 
face unless we bring our elder brother with us. Acts xii. 20, when 
Herod was displeased with the men of Tyre, they made Blastus, the 
king s chamberlain, their friend. It is good to have a favourite in 
heaven. Among all the favourites, none so acceptable as Christ ; get 
him to make intercession for you. Out of the whole, learn to see 
Christ in the word, to use Christ in prayer ; he is the golden pipe by 
which our prayers ascend, and the influences of heaven are conveyed 
to us : 1 Cor. viii. 6, One Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, 
and we by him. All things come from God to us through Christ. 

[2.] Observe Christ s order and method. From preaching he de- 
scendeth to prayer ; the word worketh not without the divine grace. 
We may open the word, but God must open the understanding, Luke 
xxiv. 28, with 45. Christ himself, you see, sealeth his doctrine with 
the seal of prayer. Moral suasion worketh not without a divine and 
real efficacy. The apostles said, Acts vi. 4, We will give ourselves 
continually to prayer, and the ministry of the word. When God hath 
spoken to us, we must speak to God again. Prayer is the best key to 
open the heart, because it first openeth heaven. Those that hear a ser 
mon, and do not pray for a blessing, see nothing of God in his ordi 
nances, nothing but what is of man s oratory and argument. Efficacy 
is quite another thin^ and when God speaketh in Ms word with 


Samuel, they think it is Eli. It reproveth them that, when the sermon 
is ended, go out, and turn their backs upon prayer ; this is to neglect 
Christ s method. And it presseth you still to help on the word by your 
prayers : Rom. xv. 30, I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus 
Christ s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together 
with me in your prayers. If you would have Christ s glory and the 
Spirit s efficacy promoted, you must take this course. 

[3.] Observe the industry and diligence of the Lord Jesus in holy 
things. He letteth no time pass without some saving work ; from doc 
trine he turneth himself to prayer. He began with the supper, and 
goeth on with discourse, and finisheth all with prayer. It upbraideth 
us that are soon weary of holy things. We are like foolish birds that 
leave the nest, and are often straggling, and let the eggs cool before 
they are hatched. Our religion cometh by flashes, which are never 
perfected and ripened. Now especially should we imitate Christ upon 
solemn days of worship ; as the Lord s-day, our whole time should be 
parted into meditation and prayer and conference. And yet more 
especially after the Lord s supper we should continue the devotion, and 
make the whole day a post-communion, as civet-boxes retain their 
scent when the civet is taken out ; and when the act is over, our 
thoughts and discourse and actions should still savour of the solemnity. 
Certainly it is an argument of much weakness to be all for flashes and 
sudden starts. If we would refresh ourselves with change, it should be 
with change of exercise, and not of affection. If it seem irksome, con 
sider, it is more easy to persevere in a heavenly frame than to begin 
again; and when the heart is warm, we should take heed we do not 
lose the present advantage. A bell is kept up with less difficulty than 
raised ; and when a horse is warm in his gears he continues his journey 
with more ease than if he should stand still a while and grow stiff. If 
we yield to weariness, how shall we hope to raise the heart again, and to 
get it to this advantage ? Corruption doth but cheat thee if thou think- 
est to get a fresh start by intermission. As I said before, there is re 
freshment in change of exercise ; and when one teat is drawn dry, we may, 
as the lamb, suck another that will yield new supply and sweetness. 

And lift up his eyes to heaven. The scripture taketh notice of 
the gesture. Christ s gestures are notable, because real significations 
of the motions of his heart. In the garden, when he began his pas 
sion, he fell on his face and prayed, Mat. xxvi. 39 ; but here he lifted 
up his eyes. When he travailed under the greatness of our sins, his 
posture is humble ; but now, when he is treating with God for our 
mercies, he useth a gesture that implieth a more elevated and generous 
confidence. Gestures, being actions suited to the affections, are signifi 
cant, and imply the dispositions of the heart. Let us see what may be 
collected out of this gesture, lifting the eyes to heaven. 

1. The raising of the heart to God in prayer. Prayer is avdjSacris 
rov vov vrpo? rov Qeov, the ascension or elevation of the heart to God, 
the motion of the body suiting with that of the soul ; so David ex- 
presseth it, Ps. xxv. 1, I lift my heart to thee. When you pray, 
know what is your work. If you would converse with God, you need 
not change place, but raise the affection. God boweth the heavens, 
and you lift up the heart ; it is not the lifting up the voice, but of the 


spirit. The lifting up of the voice, or of the eye are good, as outward 
significations, but the chief work is to lift up the heart ; the under 
standing in raised thoughts of God, the affections by strong operations 
of desire and love. Usually our hearts are heavy, and sink as lead 
within us ; it is a work of difficulty to raise them. We must pull up 
the weights, Trpoa-KapTepovvres rfj irpoa-ev^fj, continuing in prayer, 1 
Acts i. 14. As Moses his hands easily fell and sunk, so do our hearts, 
jBxod. xvii. There are plummets and weights of sin hang upon us, 
which must be cut off if we intend to get up the heart in prayer. 

2. Spiritual reverence of God : The heavens are his throne and 
dwelling-place/ Ps. ciii. 19. There his majesty and power shineth 
forth, there we behold his majesty, in that sublime and stately fabric. 
Earthly kings, that their majesty may appear the greater to their sub 
jects, have their thrones exalted, and made of precious matter, with 
cunning and curious artifice. But what are these to that sublime and 
admirable fabric of the heavens ? The very sight of the heavens show 
how excellent God is. So that looking up to heaven noteth the raising 
the heart in the reverent consideration of God s majesty and excel 
lency. We may come with hope ; we speak to our Father : but we 
must speak with reverence ; we speak to our Father in heaven. When 
we lift up our eyes, and look upon that stately fabric, the awe of God 
should fall upon us. We are poor worms crawling at God s footstool. 
By looking up to heaven we do most seriously set God before us. So 
when Solomon speaketh against the slightness of our addresses to God, 
he propoundeth this remedy, Eccles. v. 2, Be not rash with thy mouth, 
and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God ; for God is 
in heaven, and thou upon earth. There is a distance ; there God ap- 
peareth in his royalty. We tremble to come before the thrones of 
earthly princes ; they are but thy fellow clay : how far do the stars of 
heaven excel their richest jewels ! What is all their state to the pure 
matter of the heavens, to that blaze of light wherewith he is clothed ? 
Ps. civ. 2, Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, who 
stretchest out the heavens like a curtain. What are the coaches of 
princes to the chariots of the clouds, and wings of the wind, and that 
majesty and state that God keepeth in the heavens ? 

3. It noteth confidence in God, or a disclaiming of all sublunary 
confidence. The godly, in all their prayers and cries, look up unto the 
heavens, to note their confidence in God, and not in fleshly aids; as 
Ps. cxxi. 1, I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence 
cometh my help ; meaning, his relief and deliverance should come 
from God alone. A Christian looketh round about him, and seeth no 
ground of help but in the tops of the hills. So Ps. cxxiii. 1, Unto 
thee I lift up mine eyes, thou that dwellest in the heavens. The 
thrones of princes are places slippery and unsafe ; but our supports are 
out of gunshot : Lam. iii. 41, Let us lift up our heart with our hands 
unto God in the heavens. We must not rest upon anything in the 
world. He that made the heavens can accomplish our desires. The 
constant course of the heavens noteth God s faithfulness. A man may 
foresee some natural events some hundred years before. The glorious 
fabric of the heavens is a monument of his power. 

4. To show that their hearts are taken off from the world, and from 

VEK. 1.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 113 

carnal desires. Christ s eyes were to heaven; there his Father 
was : and Christians lift up their eyes to heaven, because they mainly 
seek those things that are above/ where God s throne is, and 
where Christ is now sitting at his right hand, Col. iii. 1. It is 
for beasts to grovel and look downward. Our home is above, in 
those upper regions ; there is our Christ, our pure and sweet com 
panions. Their heart cannot be severed from their head. When we 
expect one, we turn our eyes that way ; as the wife looks towards the 
seas when she expects her husband s return. It doth them good to 
look towards these visible heavens, remembering that one day they 
shall have a place of rest there. God hath fixed his throne, and 
Christ hath removed his body out of the world, that we may look up 
ward. These things from the gesture. 

And said. The word noteth a vocal expression of the prayer. Moses 
cried, Exod. xiv. 15, which noteth an inward fervency. There are no 
words mentioned, but Christ said ; that is, with an audible voice. 

I shall from this word inquire (1.) Why he prayed ; (2.) Why he 
pronounced his prayers in the hearing of the apostles. 

First, Why he prayed ; for it seems strange that Christ should be 
brought upon his knees, and that he, who was the express image of his 
Father s glory, should need the comfort of prayer, and that the heir of 
heaven, who hath the key of David, and openeth and no man shutteth, 
should stand knocking at the Father s door. I .answer 

1. This was the agreement between God and him, that he was first 
to establish a right, and then to sue it out in court : Ps. ii. 8, Ask of 
me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the 
utmost parts of the earth for thy possession/ This prayer is nothing 
else but Christ presenting his merits before the tribunal of God. In 
the whole transaction of man s salvation, God the Father would sus 
tain the person of the ruler and governor of the world ; and Christ was 
to come and make his plea before him, to give an account of his work, 
and to sue out his own right, and the right of his members. Oh ! 
wonder at the business of our salvation, the love of God, the condescen 
sion of Christ, when he took the quality of our surety upon him. He 
is to make a formal process, to plead his own merits and our interest ; 
for so he is less than the Father as mediator : My Father is greater 
than I/ Not only as man, but as mediator, Christ sustained a lesser 

2. That we might have a copy of his intercession. Christ is good 
at interceding ; he gave the world a taste in his last prayer. It is a 
pledge of those continual groans which, as a mediator of the church, 
he putteth up for us in heaven. We have an excellent advocate : 1 
John ii. 2, If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus 
Christ the righteous/ When thou art in danger of temptation, he 
saith, They are in the world ; keep them from the evil of the world/ 
When thou art practising holinesss, Christ speaketh a good word of 
thee behind thy back : Father, they keep thy word/ He is a good 
shepherd, that knoweth the state of his flock, and readily giveth an 
account to the Father. 

3. That these prayers might be a constant fountain and foundation 
of spiritual blessings. Christ s prayers are as good as so many pro- 

VOL. x. H 


mises ; for he is always heard, John xi. 42. In this prayer, Christ 
speaketh as God-man. There is not any e/awreo, I ask, but 6e\(o, I 
will. Ver. 24, Father, I will that they also be with me where I am. 
A word, not of request, but of authority. The divine nature giveth a 
force and efficacy to these prayers. When he prayeth, whole Christ 
prayeth, God-man ; and as his passion received efficacy from his god 
head, so did his prayers : Acts xx. 28, Feed the church of God, which 
he hath purchased with his own blood. As it was the blood of God, 
so it is the prayer of God. The godhead is interested in all these 
actions ; it is the prayer of the Son of God made flesh. The things 
which he asketh belong to the human nature, yet he prayeth as God. 
He that heareth with the Father, will be heard by the Father. Christ s 
prayer is not like the prayers of other holy men recorded in scripture 
for a form and pattern, but as a fountain of comfort and blessing. 
This should beget a confidence in the accomplishment of all these 
promises, the safety of the elect, the success of the word, the unity of 
the church, and the possession of glory. 

4. To commend the duty of prayer. He commanded it before, and 
commended it by promise : John xiv. 13, 14, Whatsoever ye shall ask 
of the Father in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be 
glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do 
it ; John xv. 16, That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my 
name, he may give it you. Now, to precept and promise he would 
add his own example. Certainly there are none above ordinances, if 
Christ the eternal Son of God was not. If Christ, who was of the 
same majesty and power with his Father, did pray so earnestly and 
seriously, when, in the light of omnisciency, he saw the fruit of his 
passion, how much more are prayers necessary for us, under such 
infirmity of flesh to which we are subject, and such rage of Satan and 
the world ! In all cases we must use this remedy. They that are 
above prayer are beyond religion. In his greatest works Christ 
despised not this remedy. Christ knew his own deliverance, and was 
sure of it ; yet he will not have it but by prayer. He had an eternal 
right to heaven and glory, and a new right by purchase, yet he would 
have his charter confirmed by prayer. And so, though we have 
assurance of mercy, we must take this course to get it accomplished ; 
though we have large possessions and a liberal supply, when it is at 
the table we must receive it as a boon from grace : Give us this day 
our daily bread. If for no other reason, prayer is necessary for sub 
mission to God, and that we may renew the sense of that tenure by 
which we hold a charter of grace, that by asking we may still take it 
out of free grace s hands. Christ had a right, yet, because of that 
mixture of grace with justice in all divine dispensations, he is to ask. 

5. That our prayers might be effectual. Christ s prayer is large 
and comprehensive. We can mention nothing but he has begged it 
already in terminis, or by consequence. The prayers of the saints 
have their efficacy, but not from any virtue in them, but by Christ s 
merits, by virtue of his prayers. Now Christ hath consecrated the 
way, it is like to be successful ; no prayer can miscarry. God may 
cast out the dross, but he will be sure to receive the prayer. Now he 
doth not refuse your money, but rubbeth off the filth of it. It is very 

VER. 1.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 115 

notable that Christ consecrated all ordinances, and made them success 
ful by his own obedience. Baptism ; he made the waters of baptism 
salutary. Hearing ; Christ was one of John s auditors : Behold the 
Lamb of God/ John i. 29. Singing, prayer, receiving the supper ; he 
loveth the society, ever since he himself was a communicant : Mat. 
xxvi. 29, I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of this vine, until 
the day when I drink it new with you in my Father s kingdom. 
Christ doth but act over that ordinance in heaven. So for prayer. 

Secondly, The next thing is why Christ spake aloud in prayer. 

I answer He might have prayed in silence, but he would be our 
advocate, but so that he might be our teacher. When he prayed for 
us, he prayed publicly and with a loud voice, for our comfort and 
instruction, and to give vent to the strength of his affection by leaving 
this monument in the church : ver. 13, These things I speak in the 
world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves ; that in all 
trials and afflictions we might draw consolation from the matter of 
this prayer. You may observe hence, that it is of advantage to use 
vocal prayer, not only in public, when we may quicken others, as one 
bird setting all the rest a-chirping, and we profess we are not ashamed 
of God or his worship, but in private also. God made body and soul, 
and will be served by both. Words are as giving vent to, or as the 
broaching of, a full vessel. Strong affections cannot be confined to 
thoughts : Ps. xxxix. 2, 3, My heart was hot within me ; while I was 
musing, the fire burned ; then spake I with my tongue. Musing makes 
the fire to burn. There is a continual prayer by ejaculations and 
thoughts ; but words become solemn and stated times of duty. Words 
are a boundary to the mind, and fix it more than thoughts, which are 
usually light and skipping. The mind may wander, but words are 
as a trumpet to summon them again into the presence of God. Our 
roving madness will be sooner discerned in words than in thoughts. 
When a word is lost or misplaced, we are more ashamed ; and by 
words, a dull sluggish heart is sometimes quickened and awakened. 
It is good to use this help. 

Now I come to the prayer itself. 

Father/ It is a word of confidence and sweet relation, in which 
there is much of argument, in that Christ, as God s only Son, speaketh 
to his own Father : Father, glorify thy Son. A father is wont to be 
delighted with the glory and honour of a son, as the mother of Zebe- 
dee s children sought their preferment, Mat. xx. 20. It is good to 
observe that Christ doth not say, Our Father, as involving our 
interest with his, because it is of a distinct kind. Christ would 
observe the distinction between us and himself : he is a Son that is 
equal with the Father, co-eternal with his Father ; but we are adopted 
sons, made so. When he speaketh to his disciples, he saith not, Our 
heavenly Father, but Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have 
need of all these things, Mat. vi. 32 ; and John xx. 17, I ascend 
unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God ; 
clearly distinguishing his own interest from ours. And mark, Christ 
useth the argument of son and father to show that he was not there 
fore glorified because a son, but therefore a son because glorified. 
We may note hence 


1. That it is very sweet and comfortable in prayer when we can 
come and call God Father. It is a word of affection , reverence, and 
confidence ; in all which the excellency of prayer consisteth. So 
Christ in all his addresses : Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass 
from me, Mat. xxvi. 39. So also all his prayers are bottomed on this 
relation ; ver. 5, And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own 
self; Mat. xi. 25, I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, 
&c. He hath taught us the same, to pray, Our Father which art in 
heaven, Mat. vi. 9. The great work of the Spirit is to help us to 
speak thus to God; not with lips that feign, but from our hearts: 
Horn. viii. 15, Ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we 
cry, Abba, Father. We confine the Spirit s assistance to earnest ten 
dencies and vigorous motions ; the main work is, to help us to cry, 
Father, with a proper and genuine confidence. Now all cannot do 
this : a wicked man cannot say safely to God, My Father. Whoso 
ever claims kindred of God, while he is unjust and filthy, it is not a 
prayer, but a contumely and slander : He that sanctifieth, and those 
that are sanctified, are all of one ; fdr which cause he is not ashamed 
to call them brethren/ Heb. ii. 11. Christ counteth none to be of his 
kindred but the regenerate. Pagans are strangers, and carnal men in 
the church are bastards; they had need study holiness that would 
claim kindred of Christ. Consider then what claim and interest have 
you in God ? It is sad if we can only come as creatures, cry as ravens 
for food, out of a general title to his providence, or to cry, Father, and 
lie ; to take his name in vain. It is sweeter to speak to God as a son 
than as a creature ; Lord, Lord, is not half so sweet as, Our Father/ 
This is a sweet invitation to prayer : Mat. vii. 9, What man of you, 
who if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone ? Ver. 11, If ye 
then, that are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how 
much more will your heavenly Father give good things to them that 
ask him ? It is a consolation in prayer : Gal. iv. 6, Because ye are 
sons, he hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, 
Abba, Father. It is a ground of hope and expectation after prayer : 
Ye have received the spirit of adoption, to call God, Father. 

2. Christ was about to suffer bitter things from the hand of God, 
and yet he calleth him Father. In afflictions, we must still look upon 
God as a Father, and behave ourselves as children. Christ felt him 
a judge, yet counts him a father. God, as a judge, was now about to 
lay on him the sufferings of all the elect, yet Christ calls him Father, 
to declare his obedience and trust. The hour was come in which the 
whole weight of God s displeasure was to be laid upon him ; yet, in 
this relative term, he acknowledgeth his Father s love, and manifesteth 
his own obedience. We should do so in all our afflictions : (1.) 
Maintain the comfort of adoption ; (2.) Behave ourselves as children. 

1. Maintain the comfort of adoption. It is the folly of the children 
of God to question his love because of the greatness of their afflictions, 
as if their interest did change with their condition, and God were not 
the God of the valleys as well as the God of the hills. We have more 
cause to discern love than to question it. Bastards are left to a looser 
discipline : Heb. xii. 8, If ye are without chastisement, whereof all 
are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons. To be exempted 

VER. 1.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 117 

from the cross is to be put out of the roll of children. The bramble 
of the wilderness is suffered to grow wild, but the vine is pruned. The 
stones that are designed for a noble structure or building are hewed 
and squared when others lie by neglected. 

2. Behave ourselves as children, with patience and hope. 

[1.] With a submissive patience. Father is a word that implieth 
authority and love and care, all which are arguments of patience. 
Fathers have a natural right to rule ; we must take it quietly and 
patiently at their hands. Isaac yielded to his father when he went to 
be sacrificed. It is said, Gen. xxii. 8, They both went together ; 
which noteth his quiet submission. But fatherly acts are not only 
managed with authority, but with love and care. Slaves may be 
corrected out of cruelty and hatred by their masters, but fathers do 
not deal so with children : Heb. xii. 9, 10, Furthermore, we have had 
fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence ; 
shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and 
live ? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own 
pleasure ; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his 
holiness. The apostle argue th a minori ad majus. None can be 
such a father as the Lord, so wise as he, so loving as he. God putteth 
on all relations : he hath the bowels of a mother, the wisdom of a 
father. He is a mother for tenderness of love : Isa. xlix. 15, Can a 
woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion 
on the son of her womb ? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget 
thee. A father for wisdom and care: Mat. vi. 31, 32, Take no 
thought, saying, What shall we eat ? &c., for your heavenly Father 
knoweth that you have need of all these things. Earthly parents 
sometimes chastise their children out of mere passion, at least there is 
some mixture of corruption ; but the Lord s dispensations are managed 
with much love and judgment. Therefore say, as Christ, John xviii. 
11 , The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink of 
it ? It is a bitter cup, but it cometh from the hand of a father: our 
Father gave it us, and our elder brother began it to us. We should 
love the cup the better ever since Christ s lips touched it. 

[2.] With hope. When we are perplexed, we should not be in 
despair, but sustain ourselves under our great hopes : 1 John iii. 2, 
Now we are the sons of God, but it doth not yet appear what we 
shall be. We have the right of children, though afflicted ; our estate 
and patrimony is in the heavens. An heir in his nonage is under tutors 
and governors ; he is born to a great possession, but kept under a 
severe discipline. 

The hour is come, f) wpa, that hour. 

1. That hour which was defined in God s decree, set down and 
appointed by the council of the Trinity ; not by fate, or any necessity 
of the stars, but by God s wise providence and ordination. No man 
could take Christ till his hour was come : John vii. 30, Then they 
sought to take him ; but no man laid hands on him, because his hour 
was not yet come. But when this hour was come, the Son of God 
was brought under the power of men, and liable to the assaults of 
devils. Therefore he saith, Luke xxii. 53, This is your hour, and 
the power of darkness. No calamity can touch us without God s will. 


The hour, the measure, all the circumstances of sufferings, fall under 
the ordination of God. It is not only a general ordinance that we 
shall suffer affliction ; the apostle mentioneth that, 1 Thes. iii. 3, Let 
no man be moved by this affliction ; for yourselves know that you were 
thereunto appointed. It is the ordinance of God that the way to 
heaven should lie through a howling wilderness. All the saints in 
heaven knew no other road; afflictions seem one of the waymarks. 
But we speak now of another appointment, of determining all the 
circumstances of the affliction, the time, the measure, the instruments. 
It is the comfort of a Christian that nothing can befall him but what 
his Father wills : A sparrow cannot fall to the ground without our 
heavenly Father/ Mat. x. 29. The wise Lord hath brewed our cup, 
and moulded and shaped every cross. All the ounces of gall and 
wormwood are weighed out by a wise decree, and our cup is tempered 
by God s own hand. We storm many times because of such and such 
accidents, and circumstances of the cross, as if we would have God ask 
our vote and advice, and as if our opinion were a better balance 
wherein to weigh things than divine providence. Providence reacheth 
to every particular accident. Your doom was long since written: 
such a vessel of mercy shall be thus and thus broached and pierced ; 
every wound and sorrow is numbered. 

2. That hour which was determined and foretold in the prophecies. 
God doth all things in fit seasons ; he hath his days and hours. Daniel 
understood by books the number of the years, Dan. ix. 2 ; Hab. ii. 3, 
The vision is for an appointed time/ It easeth the heart of much 
distraction when we consider there is a period fixed. There is a clock 
with which providence keepeth tune and pace, and God himself setteth 
it. It is good for us to wait the Lord s leisure. God himself waiteth 
as well as we : Isa. xxx. 18, He waiteth that he may be gracious. 
He letteth the course of causes run on till the fit hour and moment of 
execution be come, when he may discover himself with most advan 
tage to his glory and the comfort of his servants ; and God waiteth 
with as much earnestness as you do (I speak after the manner of men) : 
Isa. xvi. 14, But now hath the Lord spoken, saying, Within three 
years, as the years of a hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be con 
temned, &c. ; as the hireling waiteth for the time of his freedom, and 
when he is to receive his wages. Moab was a bitter enemy. There 
fore let us wait : John viii. 7, Your times are always ready, but my 
time is not yet come. We draw draughts of providence with the 
pencil of fancy, and then confine God to the circle of our own thoughts, 
as if he must be always ready at our hours. 

3. The hour is come ; the sufferings of God s people are very short. 
To our sense and feeling they seem long, because carnal affections are 
soon tired ; but the word doth not reckon by centuries and years, but 
moments : Ps. xxx. 5, Weeping may endure for a night, but joy 
cometh in the morning. All temporal accidents are nothing com 
pared to eternity. The sorrows of our whole life are but one night s 
darkness : This light affliction, that is but for a moment, saith the 
apostle, 2 Cor. iv. 17. Set time against eternity, and we shall want 
words to declare the shortness of it. Our hour will be soon ended. 
Wait a while and we shall be beyond fears. The martyrs in heaven 

VER. 1.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 119 

do not think of flames, and wounds and saws ; these were the suffer 
ings of a moment: John xvi. 21, A woman when she is in travail 
hath sorrow, because her hour is come : but as soon as she is delivered 
of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man 
is born into the world / John xvi. 16, A little while, and ye shall not 
see me ; and again, a little while, and ye shall see me/ To faith, the 
time between Christ s departure and his second coming is but as the 
time between his death and resurrection ; for of that Christ also 
speaketh, as is clear by the subsequent context. We measure all by 
sense, and therefore cry, How long, how long ; as men in pain will 
count minutes ; but look to the endless glory within the veil, and it is 
nothing. We should especially take this comfort to ourselves in sick 
ness and death ; it is but an hour. Wink and thou shalt be in heaven, 
said a martyr. 

4. The hour is come, saith Christ, and therefore prayeth. When 
the sad hour is come, the only remedy is prayer. We should not 
despond, but meet sorrows with a generous confidence. Now the only 
way is to pray. If we cannot look for a deliverance, we may pray for 
a mitigation, for shortening affliction : Mat. xxiv. 20, Pray that your 
flight be not in the winter, nor on the Sabbath-day/ when it may be 
tedious to body or soul. Pray that you may glorify God in sufferings, 
as Christ sueth out support in this request. Usually when evils are 
unavoidable we give over all addresses ; yet our condition is capable of 
mercy. If the hour be come, beg that a spirit of glory may rest upon 

5. Christ knew his hour. There was no traitor by ; Judas was not 
present ; the" soldiers were not come to apprehend him ; all was yet in 
the dark, and kept secret in the bosom of the priests and elders. * It 
confirmeth us in the belief of the omnisciency of Christ. He knew the 
moment of his suffering before there was any appearance of it : All 
things are open and naked before him with whom we have to do ; 
and he seeth our thoughts afar off/ 

6. Christ knew the hour was come, yet he seeketh not a hiding- 
place, or to avoid the storm by flight. How many natural and super 
natural ways had Christ to escape! He could have smitten them 
with a beam of majesty. It noteth the willingness of Christ to suffer 
all this trouble and danger for our sakes as our conqueror. When 
Christ was to grapple with our enemies, he did not decline the battle, 
but with courage and confidence entered into the lists with death and 
hell. As our sacrifice, he went willingly to the altar, not like a swine, 
but like a sheep ; not with howling and reluctancy, but with a ready 

7. The act of Christ s death was quickly over ; it was but a short 
space of time ; he calleth it an hour : Ps. ex. 7, de torrente bibet, 
1 He shall drink of the brook in the way ; a draught of death : He 
tasted death for every one/ Heb. ii. 9. At one draught he drunk hell 
dry as to the elect. 

Object. But we were to suffer eternally, and Christ was to bear our 

I answer Though Christ paid the same debt, yet, through the 
excellency of his person, it was done in a shorter time. A payment in 


gold is the same sum with a payment in silver or brass ; only, through 
the excellency of the metal, it taketh up less room. 

8. The hour is come. By way of argument, he showeth the occasion 
of his prayer in this hour of sadness and ignominy. I am to be 
betrayed, condemned, buffeted, crucified ; my majesty will be obscured, 
and my death, like a veil, drawn upon my glory : now, glorify me in 
this hour. Indeed, thus it was in all Christ s weakness and abasement, 
there was some adjunct of glory. In his incarnation, he is thrust out 
into a manger, a place for horses ; but there he is worshipped. A star 
in heaven is hung up for a sign of that inn where Christ lay ; a new 
bonfire to welcome that great, but poor prince, into the world. He is 
apprehended by the soldiers, but they are driven back, and twice 
checked in their rude attempt by the beams and emissions of his divine 
glory. He is tempted by the devil in the wilderness, but angels are 
sent to minister to him. He had not wherewith to pay tribute to 
Csesar, but the sea payeth tribute to him, and a fish bringeth the 
money. When he was crucified and scoffed at, heaven itself becometh 
a mourner, and puts on a veil of darkness ; the high priest did not 
rend his clothes, but the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the 
top to the bottom. One thief scoffed him, but another proclaimed 
him king. When man denied him, the creatures preached up his glory. 
Thus Christ, in the saddest hour, is still glorified. And thus it is 
with the children of God. Afflictions on wicked men are evil, and all 
evil ; but to the saints, a mixed dispensation : sweet experiences they 
have in the midst of sad calamities, and mercy in the midst of wrath. 

Glorify thy Son. This is the request itself: what is the meaning 
of it? Origen understandeth it of the very ignominy of the cross 
itself, which was to Christ a glory; Gloria salvatoris, patibulum 
triumpkanlis. The cross was not a gibbet, but a throne of honour ; 
and Calvary to Christ was as glorious as Olivet. It is expressed by 
lifting up. But certainly this cannot be intended here, because it was 
the lowest act of his humiliation and abasement. This is made the 
motive and reason of his request : The hour is come, by which, as 
we have seen, he intendeth that sad ignominious hour. In short, it is 
meant either of God s glorifying him in his sufferings, or God s glori 
fying him after his sufferings ; as will appear by the sequel and two 
parallel places. 

1. Glory in his sufferings. It is said, John xiii. 31, 32, * Therefore 
when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, 
and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall 
also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him. The 
meaning is, now he is to show himself a glorious Saviour, by which 
God shall also be glorified, for which he will uphold and reward him. 
So, Glorify thy Son ; he intendeth those passages by which his glory 
is manifested to the world. And so he intends 

[1.] Miracles ; while Christ suffered, the frame of nature seemed to 
be out of course : Mat. xxvii. 51, The veil of the temple was rent in 
twain, from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the 
rocks rent; and ver. 54, When the centurion, and they that were 
with him, saw these things, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was 
the Son of God. 

VER. 1.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 121 

[2.] Support and strength. This was Christ s last combat, and he 
was to discover the strength and the power of the Godhead. Now he 
prayeth for those tokens and significations of the divine power in his 
death, to undeceive the world, and that the disciples might receive no 
scandal by his cross. 

2. Glory after death ; so it is said, John vii. 39, That the Spirit 
was not yet given, because Christ was not yet glorified/ Till his 
resurrection and ascension into heaven, he was not inaugurated into 
the headship of the church, and gave not out those royal largesses and 
gifts of the Spirit. So that by this prayer Christ intendeth the resur 
rection and all the consequents of it. His resurrection, by which his 
divinity was declared : Horn. i. 4, And declared to be the Son of God, 
with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection 
from the dead. His ascension and invisible triumph: Col. ii. 15, 
1 Having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them 
openly, triumphing over them in it; Eph. iv. 8, When he ascended 
on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. The 
reception of his humanity to heaven, and his sitting down at the right 
hand of God : Phil. ii. 9-11, Wherefore God also hath highly exalted 
him, and given him a name above every name ; that at the name of 
Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, 
and things under the earth : and that every tongue should confess 
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. His 
inauguration into the throne, and authority over all things. The 
preaching of the gospel in his name, together with the success of it : 
Isa. Iv. 4, 5, Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a 
leader and commander to the people. Behold, thou shalt call a nation 
that thou knewest not ; and nations that know not thee, shall run unto 
thee ; because of the Lord thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel ; 
for he hath glorified thee. His return at the day of judgment, with 
power and great glory. The petition must be explained according to 
the event of all the glory that God put upon Christ after his passion. 
The meaning of the whole is, Hitherto I have laid aside my glory, and 
now lay down my life ; sustain me by thine arm, that I may overcome 
death ; and raise me again with triumph and honour, that I may go 
into glory, leading captivity captive, and receive the principality ; that 
by the resurrection, publication of the gospel, and last judgment, the 
glory of my divinity may be known and acknowledged. 

But how doth Christ pray, Glorify me, when he saith elsewhere, 
John viii. 5, I seek not my own glory ? 

I answer Christ speaketh there of himself in the judgment of his 
adversaries, who thought him a mere man, and showeth that he came 
not as an impostor, to seek himself. God would well enough provide 
for his glory and esteem. There he disclaimeth all particular private 
aims, affections, and attempts ; here he sueth out his right according 
to his Father s promise. 

Observe hence 

1. Christ saith, The hour is come ; and then, Father, glorify me. 
The true remedy of tribulation is to look to the succeeding glory, and 
to counterbalance future dangers with present hopes. In this prayer 
Christ reviveth the grounds of confidence. One is, Father, glorify 


me. This was comfort against that sad hour ; and so it must be our 
course not to look to things which are seen, but to things that are 
not seen/ 2 Cor. iv. 17, to defeat sense by faith. When the mind is 
in heaven, it is fortified against the pains which the body feeleth on 
earth. Strong affections give us a kind of dedolency ; a man will ven 
ture a knock that is in reach of a crown, 1 Tim. iv. 8. It is the folly 
of Christians to let fancy work altogether upon present discourage 
ments. Faith should be fixed in the contemplation of future hopes. 
It is a sad hour, but there is glory in the issue and close. 

2. Observe again, first, Christ had his hour ; then he saith, Glorify 
me. Luke xxiv. 26, Ought not Christ to suffer, and then to enter 
into his glory? Shame, sorrow, and death is the roadway to glory, 
joy, and life ; the captain of our salvation was thus made perfect, Heb. 
ii. 10; and all the followers of the Lamb are brought in by that 
method. It is the folly of some that think to be in heaven before 
they have done anything for God s glory upon earth. You would 
invert the method and stated course of heaven. None is crowned 
except he strive lawfully, 2 Tim. ii. 5, 6: and ver. 11, 12, It is a 
faithful saying ; for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with 
him ; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him. It hath the seal of 
a constant dispensation, it is a faithful saying. All the promises run, 
To him that overcometh. We must have communion with Christ 
in all estates : Horn. viii. 17, If so be that ye suffer with him, that 
ye may be also glorified together. It is a necessary condition : We 
are heirs, if so be that we suffer with him, &c. We are too delicate ; 
we would have our path strewed with roses, and do not like this dis 
cipline. Abel signifies mourning, and Stephen a crown, they were 
the first martyrs of either testament. If you want afflictions, you want 
one of the necessary waymarks to heaven. 

3. Glorify me. Christ seeketh not the empty things of this world, 
but to be glorified with the Father. We want some spiritual ambition, 
and are too low and grovelling in our desires and hopes : If you be 
risen with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ sitteth 
at the right hand of God, Col. iii. 1. It is no treason to aspire to the 
heavenly kingdom : Mat. vi. 33, Seek first the kingdom of God, and 
the righteousness thereof ; and to seek a place on Christ s own throne. 
Neither is it any culpable self-seeking to seek self in God : John v. 
44, How can ye believe, that receive honour one of another, and seek 
not the honour that cometh from God alone ? John xii. 43. They 
loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Here we may 
seek our own honour and glory without a crime. Oh ! behold the 
liberality and indulgence of grace! God hath set no stint to our 
spiritual desires ; we may seek not only grace, but glory. 

4. Christ himself prayeth to be glorified ; it noteth the truth of his 
abasement. He is the Lord of glory, 1 Cor. ii. 8, and had a natural 
and eternal right : He thought it no robbery to be equal with God ; 
and yet Christ himself is now upon his knees. If he had said, Let 
them be glorified, that had been much, that he would open his mouth 
to plead for sinners ; but he saith, Glorify me, or Glorify thy Son ; 
which is a strange condescension, that he that had the key of David 
should now be knocking at the Father s gate, and receive his own 

VER. 1.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvir. 123 

heaven by gift and entreaty. He might take, without robbery, glory 
as his due ; yet, as our mediator, he is to ask. When he took our 
nature, he brought himself under the engagement of our duty. 

5. Christ asketh what he knew would be given. So John viii. 50, 
I seek not my own glory ; there is one that seeketh and judgeth/ The 
Father was zealous for the Son s glory ; there was an oracle from 
heaven to assure him of it : John xii. 28, Father, glorify thy name. 
Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, 
and will glorify it again ; meaning, by strengthening him in the work 
of redemption. And yet now again, Glorify thy Son, that he may 
glorify thee. Observe, providence doth not take away prayers. We 
are to ask, though our heavenly Father knoweth we have need of these 
things, and we know God will give them to us : John xvi. 26, 27, At 
that day ye shall ask in my name ; I say not unto you, that I will pray 
the Father for you ; for the Father himself loveth you/ The meaning 
is, though there be need of my great instance, and I need not tell you 
I will make intercession ; I pass by that now ; I only tell you of that 
free access you have to God, and his great affection to you ; yet still 
you must ask. Assurance is a ground of the more earnest request. 
When Daniel understood by books the number of the years, then he 
was most earnest in prayer ; and when Elijah heard the sound of the 
rain, he prayed. Prayer is to help on providences that are already in 

That thy Son also may glorify thee. Here is another argument. 
It is usual in prayer to speak of ourselves in a third person ; so doth 
Christ here, That thy Son may glorify thee. This may be understood 
many ways ; partly as the glory of the Son is the glory of the Father ; 
partly by accomplishing God s work ; that I may destroy thy enemies, 
and save thy elect ; partly by the preaching of the gospel in Christ s 
name, to the glory of God the Father. He doth, as it were, say, I 
desire it for no other end but that I may bring honour to thee. 

From this clause 

1. Observe, that God s glory is much advanced in Jesus Christ. In 
the scriptures there is a draught of God ; as coin bears the image of 
Cassar, but Caesar s son is his lively resemblance. Christ is the living 
Bible ; we may read much of the glory of God in the face of Jesus 
Christ. We shall study no other book when we come to heaven. For 
the present, it is an advantage to study God in Jesus Christ. The 
apostle hath an expression, 2 Cor. iv. 4, Lest the light of the glorious 
gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them/ 
Christ is the image of God, and the gospel is the picture of Christ, the 
picture which Christ himself hath presented to his bride. There we 
see the majesty and excellency of his person ; and in Christ, of God. 
And ver. 6, the apostle saith, To give the light of the excellency of 
the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ/ In 
Christ, we read God glorious ; in his word, miracles, personal excellen 
cies, transfiguration, resurrection, we read much of God. There we 
read his justice, that he would not forgive sins without a plenary satis 
faction. If Christ himself be the Redeemer, justice will not bate him 
one farthing. His mercy ; he spared not his own Son. What scanty 
low thoughts should we have of the divine mercy if we had not this 


instance of Christ ! His truth in fulfilling of prophecies : Ps. xl. 7, 
8, Then said I, Lo, I corne ; in the volume of the book it is written 
of me, I delight to do thy will, my God ; yea, thy law is within my 
heart/ This was most difficult for God to grant, for us to believe ; yet 
rather than he would go back from his word, he would send his own 
Son to suffer death for a sinful world. All things were to be accom 
plished, though it cost Christ his precious life. God had never a 
greater gift, yet Christ came when he was promised : he will not stick 
at anything, that gave us his own Son. His wisdom, in the wonderful 
contrivance of our salvation. When we look to God s heaven, we see 
his wisdom ; but when we look on God s Son, we see the manifold 
wisdom of God, Eph. iii. 10. The angels wonder at these dispensations 
to the church. His power, in delivering Christ from death, and the 
glorious effects of his grace ; his majesty, in the transfiguration and 
ascension of Christ. Oh ! then study Christ, that you may know God. 
There is the fairest transcript of the divine perfections ; the Father 
was never published to the world by anything so much as by the Son. 

2. Observe, our respects to Christ must be so managed that the 
Father also may be glorified ; for upon these terms, and no other, will 
Christ be glorified : 2 Cor. i. 20, For all the promises in him are Yea, 
and in him Amen, to the glory of God by us ; Phil. ii. 10, 11, That 
at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall 
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father ; 
John xiv. 13, Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, 
that the Father may be glorified in the Son. Look, as the Father will 
not be honoured without the Son : John v. 53, That all men should 
honour the Son, even as they honour the Father ; he that honoureth 
not the Son, honoureth not the Father that hath sent him; so neither 
will the Son be honoured without the Father. It condemneth them 
who, out of a fond respect to Christ, neglect the Father. As the former 
age carried all respect in the name of God Almighty, without any 
distinct reflection on God the Son, so many of late carry all things in 
the name of God the Son, that the adoration due to the other persons, 
is forgotten. The wind of error doth not always blow in one corner. 
When the heat of such a humour is spent, Christ will be as much 
vilified and debased. Our hearts should not be frigidly and coldly 
affected to any of the divine persons. 

3. Observe, it is the proper duty of sons to glorify their father : 
Mai. i. 6, If I be a father, where is mine honour ? Mat. v. 16, Let 
your light so shine before men, that others, seeing your good works, 
may glorify your Father which is in heaven. 

How must this be done ? 

[1.] By reverent thoughts of his excellency, especially in worship ; 
then we honour him when we behave ourselves before him as before a 
great God ; this is to make him glorious in our own hearts, when we 
conceive of him as more excellent than all things. Usually we have 
mean base thoughts, by which we straiten or pollute the divine 

[2.] By serious acknowledgments give him glory : Rev. iv. 11, Thou 
art worthy, Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power ; for thou 
hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. 

VER. 2.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 125 

Now this is not in naked ascriptions of praise to him, prattling over 
words ; but when we confess all the glory we have above other men, in 
gifts or dignity, is given us of God, this is to make him the Father of 
glory : Eph. i. 17, That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father 
of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the 
knowledge of him. 

[3.] When we fnake the advantage of his kingdom the end of all our 
actions : 1 Cor. x. 31, Whether ye eat or drink, or whatever you do, 
do all to the glory of God ; Phil. i. 20, Christ shall be magnified in 
my body, whether it be by life or by death. Christ had glorified him, 
yet he seeks now to do it more. Self will be mixing with our ends, 
but it must be beaten back. We differ little from beasts if we mind 
only our own conveniences. 

[4.] By making this the aim of our prayers. We should desire glory 
and happiness upon no other terms : Eph. i. 6, To the praise of the 
glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved/ 
It is a mighty encouragement in prayer when we are sure to be heard : 
John xii. 28, Father, glorify thy name : then came there a voice from 
heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. He 
begs that God would glorify his name in giving him the victory in 
this last combat. We ask of God for God : Those that honour me, 
I will honour them, 1 Sam. ii. 30. 

[5.] When we are content to be put to shame so God be honoured, to 
hazard all so we may glorify his name, though it be with the loss of 
life itself : Josh. vii. 19, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the 
Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him ; Mai. ii. 2, If ye 
will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my 
name (that is, by an ingenuous confession), I will even send a curse 
upon you. 

[6.] When you make others to glorify God: 2 Cor. ix. 13, They 
glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ/ 
Christians are to be holy, for Christ s honour lieth at stake. 

[7.] When we can rejoice in God s glory, though advanced by others, 
be the instruments who they will ; as Paul did, Phil. i. 18, Notwith 
standing every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached, 
and I herein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. 

[8.] When we are affected for God s dishonour, though done by 


As fhou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal 
life to as many as thou hast given him. JOHN XVII. 2. 

HERE is the next reason of Christ s request ; the former was the glory 
of God, and here is another, the salvation of men. Unless the Father 
glorified him he could not accomplish the ends of his office, which was 
to glorify the Father in the salvation of man ; which could not be 
unless he were sustained in death, delivered out of death, and received 


into glory : If Christ be not risen, your faith is vain, and ye are yet 
in your sins, 1 Cor. xv. 17. How should we know our discharge from 
sin, if our surety had not been let out of prison ? Where should we 
have gotten an advocate to appear for us in the heavens, or a king to 
pour out the royal largess of gifts and graces to accompany the gospel, 
that it might be successful for our souls ? From the context I shall 
observe two points : 

1. Observe, that, next to God s glory, Christ s aim was at our salva 
tion. Christ doth not mention his own profit, but that thy Son may 
glorify thee, and that he may give eternal life. These two were the 
scope of his sufferings and rising again to glory. 

[1.] Of his sufferings: Dan. ix. 26, The Messias shall be cut off, 
but not for himself ; not for his own desert, nor his own profit ; for 
no fault, no benefit of his own. So Kom. xv. 3, Christ pleased not 
himself ; as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee 
have fallen upon me. The meaning is, he suffered the outrages of the 
wicked to promote the salvation of the elect ; or the burden of our sins, 
by which God was dishonoured, fell on him. Christ sought not sweet 
things for himself ; he had no respect to his own ease, but our happiness. 

[2.] In his rising to glory he still eyed us ; when he went to heaven 
he went thither on our errand, to seize upon it in our right, and to 
prepare it for our coming : John xiv. 3, I go to prepare a place for 
you. Not so much to be glorified himself, as to get us thither : Heb. 
ix. 24, e^avicrB ijvat, There to appear in the presence of God for us. 
Christ went to heaven that we might have a friend in court. He is 
entered into the heavens to appear for us ; as if that were all the busi 
ness of Christ in heaven, to remain there as our advocate. 

Use 1. To show us the great love and condescension of Christ. The 
cross was sad work ; all the wages was the salvation of our souls. In 
the eternal covenant he aimed at no other bargain : Isa. liii. 10, 
When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his 
seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall 
prosper in his hands ; that he might be effectual to save souls. They 
told David, 2 Sam. xviii. 3, Thou art worth ten thousand of us: if we 
flee away, they will not care for us ; neither if half of us die, will they 
care for us. Public relation makes kings more valuable. Christ s 
soul was worth millions of ours ; and his life was more valuable than 
the life of men and angels ; yet, to save ours, Christ layeth down his 
own, and he pleased not himself, that the pleasure of the Lord might 
prosper in our salvation. 

Use 2. It teacheth us more self-denial, to do all for God s glory, 
and the good of the elect, both in life and death : Phil. ii. 17, Yea, 
and if I be offered up on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy 
and rejoice with you all. A man that mindeth altogether his own 
things, liveth but a brutish life, beneath grace and reason. Keason 
will tell us that man was made sociable, and not only born for himself : 
grace raiseth actions to the highest self-denial. To deny ourselves is 
one of the first and most glorious precepts of Christianity. 

2. Observe, that the comfort and salvation of man doth much depend 
upon the glorification of Christ : Glorify me, that I may give eternal 
lite. The ends of his office are much furthered. 

VEB. 2.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 127 

[1.] His glorification is a pledge of ours. God would do everything 
first in Christ ; elect him, adopt him, pour out the Spirit on him, 
raise him, glorify him, as the scripture everywhere manifests. Our 
nature is in heaven, as an earnest of our persons being there. He is 
called our forerunner, Heb. vi. 20, being gone before into heaven as a 
forerunner and harbinger, to take up room ; and the captain of our 
salvation, Heb. ii. 11. When the head is in heaven, the members 
will follow. Whole Christ must be there ; he is not content with his 
heaven without us : John xiv. 3, If I go and prepare a place for 
you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, 
there ye may be also ; John xvii. 24, Father, I will that they also 
whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may 
behold my glory that thou hast given me/ 

[2.] His glorification is a pledge of his satisfaction. Our surety is 
let out of prison ; and when the surety is released, the debt is paid ; 
all the work is accomplished and effected : John xvi. 10, He will 
convince the world of righteousness, because I go to the Father. 1 
There is enough done to bring souls to glory, for Christ is received to 
glory ; I am satisfied, I have found a ransom. So John xvii. 4, 5, I 
have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work thou hast 
given me to do. And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own 
self. Christ had never come out of the grave, never ascended, if any 
thing else had remained to be done. 

[3.] Christ glorified is a clearer ground of hope to the creature. When 
Christ was in the flesh he was poor, despised, crucified ; the apostle 
calleth it the weakness of God. Many looked for a kingdom from 
him ; many believed in him when he was upon earth ; the thief owned 
him upon his cross : Kemember me when thou comest to thy king 
dom. If the thief could spy his royalty under the ignominy of the 
cross, what may we expect from Christ in his glorified estate ? When 
David was hunted as a flea, or a partridge upon the mountains, there 
were six hundred clave to him, and had great hopes of his future 
exaltation ; they might look for more from David on the throne. 
Christ is now exalted, and hath a name above all names ; he still 
retaineth our nature, and that is an argument of love ; we go to one 
that is bone of our bone : and he is glorified in our nature ; that is an 
argument of his power. 

[4.] Christ is really put into a greater capacity to do us good. 

(1.) He hath seized on heaven in our right : John xiv. 3, I go to 
prepare a place for you. God the Father prepared it by his decree ; 
but Christ, by his ascension, went to hold it in our name ; he took 
possession of it for himself, and his people, and ever since heaven s door 
hath stood open. 

(2.) The advantage of his intercession : 1 John ii. 1, If any man 
sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 
Christ is our advocate at God s right hand ; we have a friend at court. 
Offenders hope to be spared if they have interest in any that have the 
prince s ear. Jesus Christ is now in heaven at God s right hand, 
representing his merits. How can our prayers choose but be heard ? 
The Spirit is our notary to indite them, and Christ is our advocate to 
present them in court. 


(3.) The mission of the Spirit. Christ carried up our flesh, and sent 
down his own Spirit ; as to fit heaven for us, Mat. xxv. 34, so to fit us 
for heaven : Kom. ix. 23, Vessels fitted for glory ; vessels of glory 
seasoned with grace. Now the Spirit is not given but by Christ s 
ascension : Eph. iv. 11, 12, When he ascended, he gave first apostles, 
then prophets, then evangelists, then pastors and teachers, for the per 
fecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the 
body of Christ. This was his royal largess on the day of his coronation. 

(4.) By his ascension all Christ s offices have a new qualification, 
and are exercised in another manner. Christ hath been mediator, 
king, priest, and prophet from the beginning of the world ; but the 
administration is different before his incarnation, in the days of his 
flesh, and after his ascension. Before his coming in the flesh, Christ 
was the great prophet of the church, foreshowing what was to come ; 
in his incarnation, pointing at what he did ; after his glorification, 
working faith, by representing what was past. So a priest ; before his 
incarnation, undertaking payment and satisfaction for our debts. In 
the days of his flesh, he made good his engagement ; after his ascen 
sion, he representeth his satisfaction made by his intercession, he 
appeareth as a righteous mediator, not by entreaty. Christ was a king 
by designation ; before he was incarnate, the old church had a taste of 
his kingly power ; when he lived upon earth, he was as a king fighting 
for the crown, a king in warfare ; after the resurrection, a king in 
triumph, solemnly inaugurated, he enters into his throne. Christ 
cometh into the Father s presence royally attended: Dan. vii. 13, 14, 
And I saw in the night visions, the Son of man with the clouds of 
heaven ; and he came to the ancient of days, and they brought him 
near before him ; and there was given him dominion, and glory, and 
all people, nations, and languages, that should serve him ; his dominion 
is an everlasting dominion, that shall not pass away/ After his resur 
rection, Christ is brought into God s presence, receiving all power in 
heaven and earth. Christ had this power from the beginning, but was 
not solemnly installed till then. As David had the power given him 
when anointed by Samuel, yet he endured banishment and tedious 
conflicts, and showed not himself till after the death of Saul, and till 
chosen by the tribes at Hebron ; so Christ was a Prince and Saviour 
before his ascension ; but it is said, Acts v. 31, Him hath God ex 
alted by his right hand, to be a prince and a saviour. He was 
prince by eternal right, and by gift and designation. In the midst of 
his abasement, Christ acknowledged himself king, John viii. 37. But 
after his ascension, he solemnly exercised it, and administered it for the 
good of the elect. 

Well, then, let us meditate on these things, and draw water out of 
the wells of salvation with joy. It is better for us that Christ should 
be in heaven, than with us upon earth. A woman had rather have 
her husband live with her, than go to the Indies ; but yieldeth to his 
absence, when she considereth the profit of that traffic. We are all 
apt to wish for the apostles days, to enjoy Christ with us in person ; 
but when we consider the fruit of his negotiation in heaven, we should 
be contented. It is better for us he should be there, to plead with the 
Father, and send his Spirit to us. 

YEK. 2.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 129 

I come to the words. 

As. Some take this particle, o-uy/cpm/tw?, comparatively; others 
airiakoyiKws, causally. Comparatively ; Glorify me, i.e., as thou 
hast given me a power over all flesh, &c., give me a glory suitable to 
the authority ; handle me according to the power and command which 
thou hast given me, as the plenipotentiary of heaven. But it is rather 
taken causally, by way of argument. It is not o>?, but Kadws, which 
may be rendered because. Now the argument is double (1.) It may 
be taken from a former grant of power, As thou hast given, &c. 
Hitherto he had a right ; now he pleadeth for possession, and a more 
full exercise of it ; and (2.) From the end which that power is to be 
exercised for, the good of the elect, that he may give eternal life to as 
many as thou hast given him. 

1. I may observe something from that, As thou hast given him. 
The memory of former benefits is an encouragement to ask anew. 
Experience begetteth confidence. The heart is much confirmed when 
faith hath sense and experience on its side ; and the belief of what is 
to come is facilitated by considering what is past. We should believe 
God upon his bare word ; yet it is an encouragement to have experi 
ence and trial. By former mercies we have a double experience ; we 
know that he will and can do for creatures. Signal mercies are stand 
ing monuments of God s power : Isa. li. 9, Awake, awake, put on 
strength, arm of the Lord ; awake, as in the ancient days, in the 
generations of old. Art not thou it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded 
the dragon ? Eahab is Egypt, the dragon is Pharaoh ; he that hath 
helped can and will. We should not entertain jealousies without a 
cause : 1 Sam. xvii. 37, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw 
of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of 
the hand of this Philistine. Former mercies are pledges of future. 
Deus donando debet God by giving becometh our debtor : Mat. vi. 
25, Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment ? 
He enticeth hope by former mercies : Judges xiii. 23, If the Lord 
were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt-offering 
and a meat-offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all 
these things. God would not weary us altogether with expectation ; 
something we have in hand, and therefore may expect more. Well, 
then, when your hearts are apt to faint, take the cordial of experiences : 
Ps. Ixxvii. 10, I said, This is mine infirmity ; but I will remember 
the years of the right hand of the Most High. We are apt to indulge 
the peevishness of distrust after many deliverances : 1 Sam. xxvii. 1, 
I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul ; though God had put him 
twice into his hands : Eom. viii. 32, He that spared not his own son, 
&c., how will he not with him also freely give us all things ? In 
common experiences, where we can have no absolute assurance, let us 
not baulk duty for danger : 2 Cor. i. 10, Who delivered us from so 
great a death, and doth deliver, in whom we trust that he will yet 
deliver us. Paul would finish his ministry notwithstanding danger. 

2. Observe again from this, As thou hast given ; daturum ie 
promisisti thou hast promised to give. God had promised to make 
over to him the plenary possession and administration of the kingdom ; 
Christ pleadeth the grant and promise. It is an excellent encourage- 

VOL. x. i 


ment in prayer when we can back our requests with promises : Ps. 
cxix. 49, Kemember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou 
hast caused me to hope. It is a modest challenge. God alloweth it, 
Put me in remembrance, let us plead together, &c., Isa. xliii. 26. 
We may argue and dispute with God upon his own word ; chirographs 
tua injiciebat tibi, domine show him his own hand. Lord, thou hast 
said this and that, let it be fulfilled. 

Thou hast given him. As he was man and mediator ; for as he 
was God, he L had an eternal right, and an actual visible right by 
creation and providence ; but Christ, as mediator, was to receive a 
crown. By f gift : Ps. ii. 8, Ask of me, and I will give thee the 
heathen for thy inheritance. 

1. It noteth that Christ hath his kingdom by right, not by mere 
power. It is by the Father s grant he was solemnly invested and set 
upon the hill of Sion. They are rebels to God who do not acknowledge 
Christ to be King. There are several manners of possession. Satan 
is prince of the world, but he is a robber ; he holdeth it not by grant 
from the Father, but by power ; he hath actual possession of many 
nations, but no right. 

2. It noteth what kind of right it is that Christ hath ; it was by 
grant and donation. It is the great condescension of our Lord that he 
would hold all things by our tenure, by way of gift and grant from the 
Father. Free grace is no dishonourable tenure. Christ himself 
holdeth his kingdom by it. Why should proud creatures disdain this 
manner of holding ? The lordship of the world was Christ s natural 
inheritance, yet he would hold all by grace. 

Power over all flesh. Flesh is chiefly put for men, though all 
creatures are under his dominion. We are sometimes expressed by 
our better, and sometimes by our baser part. By our better ; every 
soul, that is, every man, Horn. ii. 9, and xiii. 1. Sometimes by the 
baser part : Isa. xl. 6, All flesh is grass ; Mat. xxiv. 22, No flesh 
would be saved ; and elsewhere. Here flesh is fitly used ; it is put 
for the nature of man in common, in opposition to those who are 
peculiarly Christ s by tradition and purchase. And by power over all 
flesh, is meant a judiciary power to disposeof them according to pleasure ; 
yea, of their everlasting estate. Potestatem omnis hommis accepit, 
ut liberet quos voluerit, et damnet quos wluerit. John v. 27, He hath 
given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Sou 
of man. It is the style of God himself ; he is called, Num. xvi. 22, 
The God of the spirits of all flesh ; and more express to this purpose, 
Jer. xxxii. 27, Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh : is there 
anything too hard for me ? So that it noteth not a naked authority, 
but an authority armed with a divine power. Now because God will 
not give his glory to another, we may hence observe : 

1. That Christ is true God, for otherwise he could not have such 
an absolute power. It is proper to his divine nature, though, as it is 
a gift, his whole person God-man be invested with it. He is called 
the only God, not excluding the Father, who subsisteth with him in 
the same essence, but including the Son : Isa. xlv. 22, 23, I am God, 
and there is none else : I have sworn by myself ; the word is gone out 
in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall 

VEK. 2.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 131 

bow, and every tongue shall swear ; which is applied to Christ, Kom. 
xiv. 11, and Phil. ii. 9-11. He is called the great God ; the supper 
of the Lamb is called the supper of the great God/ Kev. xix. 
17 ; the true God, 1 John v. 20. It should fortify Christians 
against those abominable opinions wherein the godhead of Christ is 

2. Observe that Christ as mediator hath power over all flesh. All 
kings and monarchs have certain bounds and limits, by which their 
empire is terminated ; but God hath set Christ higher than the kings 
of the earth. He is the true catholic king ; his government is 
unlimited : Ps. Ixxxix. 27, Also I will make him, my first born, 
higher than the kings of the earth ; Mat. xxviii. 18, All power is 
given unto me, both in heaven and in earth ; and Dan. vii. 14, There 
was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, 
nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an ever 
lasting dominion, which shall not pass away ; and his kingdom, that 
which shall not be destroyed. There is some difference about the 
extent of Christ s mediatory kingdom. 

[1.] It is not only confined to the elect. We must distinguish 
between Christ s power and his charge. He hath a power given him 
over all ; but there are some given to him by way of special charge, 
which is given for the elect, as to all spiritual ends, to rescue them 
from the power of Satan, as in this verse. As Joseph in Egypt ; the 
power of all the land was made over to him, though his brethren had 
a special right in his affections. The kingdom of Christ, as merely 
spiritual and inward, is proper to the elect ; that kingdom where 
Christ hath no other deputy and vicar but his Spirit ; but for his 
judiciary kingdom, that is universal : Ps. ii. 8, I will give thee the 
heathen for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy 
possession/ There is a reign over mankind, and those that do not 
subject themselves to Christ as a redeemer shall find him as a judge. 
Therefore, in Ps. ii., the judiciary acts of his power are only mentioned, 
breaking them with a rod of iron/ and vexing them in his hot 
displeasure/ He is lord over them in power and justice as God s 
lieutenant ; they shall pay him homage and subjection as king of the 
world, or else they shall perish. He overruleth them as rebels, but 
he reigneth in the church as over voluntary subjects. 

[2.] It is not confined to the church and things merely spiritual , 
This kingdom is as large as providence ; and in the exercise of justice 
and equity magistrates are but his deputies. Christ is ^eairor^ KOL 
Kvpto<;, the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ/ He is 
king of nations/ Jer. x. 7; king of saints/ Rev. xv. 3; head over 
all things to the church/ Eph. i. 22. Supreme and absolute in the 
world, but head to the church. He hath a rod of iron to rule the 
nations, and a golden sceptre to guide the church. In the world he 
ruleth by providence ; in the church, by his testimonies : Ps. xciii., 
The Lord reigneth; Ps. xxiv. 1, The earth is the Lord s. And 
then, ver. 4, Who shall dwell in his holy hill ? I confess there is a 
question whether magistrates be under Christ as mediator ? whether 
they hold their power from him ? But I see no reason why we should 
doubt of it, since all things are put into Christ s hands ; and that not 


only by an eternal right, but given to him ; which noteth his right as 
mediator. Christ hath a right of merit, as lord of all creatures. He 
is lord both of the dead and living, Horn. xiv. 9. The whole crea 
ture is delivered up to Christ, upon his undertaking the work of 
redemption ; he hath a right of executing the dominion of God over 
every creature. Christ, the wisdom of the Father, saith, By me 
kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and 
nobles ; even all the judges of the earth, Prov. viii. 15, 16. And 
expressly he is said to be ruler of the kings of the earth. Eev. i. 5. 

Use I. Comfort to God s children. All is put into the hands of 
Christ. A devil cannot stir further than he giveth leave ; as the devils 
could not enter into the herd of swine without Christ s leave, Mark viii. 
When thou art in Satan s hands, the devil is in Christ s. Neither 
angels, nor principalities, nor powers can hurt. The reins of the 
world are in a wise hand : The Lord reigneth, though the waves roar, 
Ps. xcix. 1. It was much comfort to Jacob and his children to hear 
that Joseph did all in Egypt. It should be so to us that Jesus doth 
all in heaven. He holdeth the chain of causes in his own hand. It 
will be much more for thy comfort at the last day. A client conceiveth 
great hope when one formerly his advocate is advanced to be judge of 
the court. Thy advocate is thy judge. He that died for thee will 
not destroy thee. Thy Christ hath power over all flesh, to damn 
whom he will, and save whom he will. 

Use 2. An invitation to bring in men to Christ. Oh ! who would 
not choose him to be Lord that, whether we will or no, is our 
master ? He can hold thee by the chains of an invincible providence, 
that art not held with the bonds of duty. Oh ! it is better to touch the 
golden sceptre than to be broken with the iron rod, and to feel the 
efficacy of his grace than the power of his anger. Christ is resolved 
creatures shall stoop. The apostle proveth the day of judgment : Horn, 
xiv. 10, 11, We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ : 
for it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, 
&c. Christ will bring the creatures on their knees ; at the last day 
all faces shall gather blackness, and the stoutest hearts be appalled. 
Christ will have the better ; it is better be his subjects than his 

Use 3. To magistrates, to own the mediator. You hold your power 
from Christ, and therefore must exercise it for him: Ps. ii. 10-12, 
Be wise now, therefore, ye kings : be instructed, ye judges of the 
earth (it is their duty chiefly to observe Jesus Christ) ; serve the 
Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be 
angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a 
little. Acknowledge Christ your Lord, or else he will blast your 
counsels ; you shall perish in the midway : when you have carried on 
your designs a little while, you shall perish ere you are aware : Christ 
will call you to an account. 

Two things Christ is tender of, his servants and his truth. 

His servants are weak to appearance, but they have a great cham 
pion : what is done to them Christ counteth as done to himself : 
Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Acts ix. 4, when he raged 
against the saints : Isa. xlix. 23, Kings shall be thy nursing-fathers, 

VER. 2.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 133 

and their queens thy nursing-mothers/ Christ hath little ones, that 
should be nursed and not oppressed. 

But chiefly his truth. It is truth maketh saints : John xvii. 17, 
Sanctify them through thy truth ; thy word is truth/ You should 
own your Lord and master, and not be indifferent to Christ or Satan. 
To tolerate errors, especially directly against Christ s person, nature, 
and mediatory offices, is but sorry thankfulness to your great master. 
He did not give you a commission to countenance rebels against him 
self. Whilst you maintain the power and purity of his ordinances, 
Christ will own you, and bear you out ; but when, for secular ends, 
men hug his enemies, they are in danger to perish in the midway, 
in the course of their attempts. 

That he should give eternal life. That signifieth the end why 
Christ received so much power for the elect s sake, that he might 
be in a capacity to conduct them to glory ; which otherwise could 
not be, if Christ s power were more limited and restrained. I 

1. Observe, that Christ s power in the world is exercised for the 
church s good : Eph. i. 22, He is the head over all things to the 
church. All dispensations are in the hand of a mediator for the 
elect s sake, to gain them from among others, to protect them against 
the assaults of others. 

[1.] To gain them : 2 Peter iii. 9, He is not willing that any should 
perish, but that all should come to repentance. If the elect were 
gathered, providence would be soon at an end. God s dispensations 
are guided by his decrees. 

[2.] To protect them when they are gained. You must pluck 
Christ from the throne ere you can pluck a member from his body : 
John x. 28, I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, 
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. By his conduct 
and government we are secured against all dangers ; they may pluck 
joint from joint, but they cannot pluck the soul from Christ that is 
once really implanted into him. 

2. Observe that eternal life is Christ s gift. It is not the merit of 
our works, but the fruit of his grace : Horn. vi. 23, The wages of sin 
is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our 
Lord. It is good to observe how the expression is diversified. Sin 
and death are suited like work and wages ; but eternal life is a mere 
donative, not from the merit of the receiver, but the bounty of the 
giver. Works that need pardon can never deserve glory. Grace in 
us runneth as water in a muddy channel : the child hath more of the 
mother. It is true there is a concurrence of works, but not by way of 
causality, but order. God will first justify, then sanctify, then glorify. 
Justification is the cause and foundation of eternal life, and sanctifica- 
tion the beginning and introduction of it ; and we have both by Christ. 
The first is obtained by Christ s blood, the second wrought by his 
Spirit. See Eph. ii. 8, 9, By grace ye are saved, through faith, and 
that not of yourselves ; it is the gift of God : not of works, lest any 
man should boast. The instrument of salvation is faith, which 
requireth a renouncing of works; and faith also is of grace. The 
Papists, to excuse the gross conceit of merit, say our works do not 


merit but as they come from the grace of God, and are washed with 
the blood of Christ. But neither salve will serve for this sore. 

[1.] It is not enough to ascribe grace to God. All justiciaries will 
do so. The pharisee said, God, I thank thee I am so and so. You 
confound the covenants when you think we may merit of God by his 
own grace. God maketh us righteous by grace ; and if by the exercise 
of it we deserve life, Adam under the covenant of works must then 
have been said to be saved by grace, because he could not persevere in 
the use of his free-will unless he had received it from God. 

[2.] Nor as dyed in the blood of Christ, because faith disclaimeth 
all works as to the act of justification ; and there is no merit if it be 
of grace. Learn then to admire grace with comfort and hope. Merit- 
mongers are left to be confuted by experience. Surely men that cry 
up works seldom look into their own consciences. Let them use the 
same plea in their prayers they do in their disputes : give me not 
eternal life till I deserve it : Lord, let me have no mercy till I deserve 
it. Or let them dispute thus, when they come to dispute with their 
own consciences in the agonies of death ; then, Optimum est inniti 
meritis Christi. 

3. Observe, the gifts that God is wont to give are not earthly 
riches, worldly power, transitory honours, but eternal life. This was 
the great end for which he was ordained by the Father. Many come 
to Christ as that man, Luke xii. 13, Master, speak to my brother, to 
divide the inheritance with me. He looked upon him as aliquem 
magnum, one furnished with great power, fit to serve his carnal ends. 
Such fleshly requests are not acceptable to our mediator. The Lord 
loveth to give blessings suitable to his own being. He liveth for ever, 
and he giveth eternal life to the elect. Learn, then, how to frame 
your requests. Say, I will not be satisfied with these things : Ke- 
member me with the favour of thy people : visit me with thy sal 
vation ; that I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in 
the gladness of thy nation ; that I may glory with thine inheritance, 
Ps. cvi. 4, 5. 

4. Observe, from the expression, c eternal life. Our estate in 
heaven is expressed by life and eternal life. This is a term frequently 
used to signify the glorified estate. Now it doth imply not only our 
bare subsistence for ever, but also the tranquillity and happiness of 
that state. 

[1.] It is life: Heirs together of the grace of life, 1 Peter iii. 7. 
Lite is the most precious possession and heritage of the creature ; there 
can be no happiness without it. All our comforts begin and end with 
life. Life is better than food : Mat. vi. 25, Is not the life more than 
meat, and the body than raiment? Poisons and cordials are all one 
to a dead man. Creatures base, if they have life, are better than those 
which are most excellent : a living dog is better than a dead lion. 
All creatures desire to preserve life. All the travail of men under the 
sun is for life, to prop up a tabernacle that is always falling : Job ii. 7, 
Skin for skin, and all that a man hath, will he give for his life. All 
our labour and care is for it ; and when we have made provision for it, 
it is taken from us. It is called the life of our hands, Isa. Iviii. 10. 
We make hard shift to maintain it. This life is a poor thing, it is no 

VER. 2.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvu. 135 

great matter to be heir to it : James iv. 14, What is your life ? it is 
oven a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth 

[2.] It is life eternal ; not like the earthly life, which is but as a 
vapour, a little warm breath, or warm smoke, turned in and out by the 
nostrils. Our present life is a lamp that may be soon quenched ; it is 
in the power of every ruffian and assassinate. But this is life eternal. 
In heaven there is a fair estate ; the tenure is for life ; but we need 
not take thought for heirs ; we and our happiness shall always live 
together. The blossoms of paradise are for ever fresh and green : 
therefore if we love life, why should we not love heaven ? This is a 
life that is never spent, and we are never weary of living. This life is 
short, yet we soon grow weary of it. The shortest life is long enough 
to be encumbered with a thousand miseries. If you live till old age, 
age is a burden to itself: The days shall come in which they shall 
say, We have no pleasure/ Eccles. xii. 1. Life itself may become a 
burden, but you will never wish for an end of eternal life ; that is a 
long date of days without misery and without weariness. Eternity is 
every day more lovely. Well might David say, The loving-kindness 
of God is better than life. Men have cursed the day of their birth, 
but never the day of their new birth. Those that have once tasted the 
sweet and benefit of God s life never grow weary of it. 

[3.] This life is begun, and carried on by degrees. 

(1.) The foundation of it is laid in regeneration : then do we begin 
to live when Christ beginneth to live in us ; and we may reckon from 
that day when, in the power of his life, we began to advance towards 
heaven ; for then there was a seed laid of a life which cannot be de 
stroyed. The life of nature may be extinguished, but not of grace : 
Horn. viii. 11, If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, 
dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken 
your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. The Spirit 
cannot leave his dwelling-place. It is said, John v. 24, He that 
heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting 
life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death 
unto life. The change is wrought as soon as we begin to be acquainted 
with God in Christ. 

(2.) Presently after death there is a further progress made. As 
soon as the soul is separated from the body, it begins to live gloriously. 
It is with Christ : Phil. i. 23, I desire to depart and to be with 
Christ; it is in Christ here, but not so properly with him. And it 
is in paradise: Luke xxiii. 43, This day shalt thou be with me in 
paradise/ In Abraham s bosom : Luke xvi. 25, He seeth Abraham 
afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom/ And enjoyeth the fruit of good 
works : Rev. xiv. 13, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord ; 
from henceforth, yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their 
labours, and their works do follow them/ There is not only a cessation 
from sin and misery, but an enjoyment of glory ; and the body resteth 
without pain and labour till the resurrection, as in a bed: Isa. Ivii. 2, 
He shall enter into peace : they shall rest in their beds, each one 
walking in his uprightness/ 

(3.) After, at the resurrection of the body, there is a consummation 


of all joy. That is called the day of regeneration, Mat. xix. 28. 
Body and soul shall be renewed perfectly, for immortality and glory. 
Then we live indeed. Therefore Christ saith, John xi. 25, I am the- 
resurrection and the life. All is consummate and full then ; death 
hath some power till that day. 

Use 1. To press us to labour after this holy life : John vi. 27, 
Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat that 
endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give you. 
Grace is the beginning and pledge of it. It is the beginning and seed 
of life ; this is an immortal spark, that shall never be quenched : it 
is the pledge, 1 Tim. vi. 19 ; you may seize life as your right and 
inheritance. Oh ! labour for it. This life is made bitter that thou 
mayest desire the other. Consider, all dependeth on thy state in this 
world ; either thou art a child of wrath or an heir of life. Wicked 
men do die rather than live in the other world. It is better not to be 
than to be for ever miserable ; to lie under the wrath of God, to be 
shut out of the presence of God for evermore. 

Use 2. Bless the Lord Jesus Christ for opening a door of life for 
them that were dead in and by sin. The tree of life was fenced by a 
flaming sword : no creature could enter till Christ opened the way : 2 
Tim. i. 10, By his appearing he hath abolished death, and hath 
brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Christ 
came from heaven on purpose to overcome death and take away the 
sting of it ; and he is gone to heaven on purpose to make way for us. 
Our life cost Christ his death : John xvi. 5, Now I go away to him 
that sent me. 

To as many as thou hast given him. Let us see the import of 
this phrase. 

1. How we are said to be given to Christ. 

2. Who are they that are given to Christ. 
1. How we are said to be given to Christ 

[1.] By way of reward. There was an eternal bargain and compact : 
Isa. liii. 10, When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he 
shall see his seed, &c. We are members of his body, children of his 
family, subjects of his kingdom. This is a ground of certainty to the 
elect : The Lord knoweth those that are his/ 2 Tim. ii. 18. He made 
no blind bargain ; he had leisure enough to cast up his account from 
all eternity. 

[2.] By way of charge, to be redeemed, justified, sanctified, glorified : 
John vi. 37-40, All that the Father giveth me shall come to me ; and 
he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down 
from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent 
me. And this is the Father s will which hath sent me, that of all 
which he hath given- me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up 
again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that 
every one that seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlast 
ing life ; and I will raise him up at the last day. W T hen the elect were 
made over to Christ, it was not by way of alienation, but oppignoration ; 
they were laid to pledge in his hands, and God will call Christ to an 
account. None given to him by way of charge can miscarry. You 
trust Christ, and God trusted him with all the souls of the elect. 

VEU. 2.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvji. 137 

2. Who are they that are given to Christ ? I answer The elect 
are intended in this scripture, as is clear : He hath a power over all 
flesh, but, to give eternal life to as many as are given to him. So 
ver. 24, I will that all they whom thou hast given me may be with 
me. None but the elect are saved. So ver. 10, All mine are thine, 
and thine are mine ; where Christ s charge and the Father s election 
are made commensurable and of the same extent and latitude. They 
are opposed to the world : ver. 9, I pray for them ; I pray not for the 
world, but for them whom thou hast given me, for they are thine. I 
confess it is sometimes used in a more restrained sense, of the apostles 
and believers of that age ; as ver. G, Thine they were, and thou gavest 
them me, and they have kept thy word ; and ver. 12, Those that 
thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost but the son of 
perdition. These were e/e\e/eTa/ e/cXe/crorepot, the elect of the elect. 
I confess sometimes the word is used in a larger sense, for Christ s uni 
versal power over all flesh : Ps. ii. 8, Ask of me, and I will give thee 
the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth 
for thy possession ; not by way of charge, but by way of reward, they 
were given to him ; or rather, a power over them was given to him. 
There is a peculiar difficulty, ver. 12, concerning the son of perdition, 
how he was given to Christ. But I shall handle it when I come to 
that place. Christ, having spoken of the apostles keeping his word, 
taketh occasion to speak of Judas his apostasy. 

Note hence : 

1. That there wa k s, from all eternity, a solemn tradition and disposi 
tion of all that shall be saved into the hands of Christ. All God s 
flock are committed to his keeping. This giving souls to Christ was 
founded in an eternal treaty, Isa. liii. 10. Christ received them by 
way of grant and charge ; he hath a book where all their names are 
recorded and written : Rev. xiii. 8, All that dwell upon the earth 
shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of 
the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world ; Bev. xxi. 27, 
None shall enter in who are not written in the Lamb s book of life/ 
The book of life is there attributed to Christ, because he took this 
solemn charge upon himself, to conduct the heirs of salvation to glory. 
He is to see they come to him : John vi. 37, All that the Father 
giveth me shall come to me. He knoweth them by head and poll : 
Isa. xlix. 12, Behold, these shall come from far ; and lo, these from 
the land of the north, and from the west, and these from the land of 
Sinirn/ Man by man they are told out to him. 

2. He is to keep them and look after them. Though there be 
many thousands, yet every single believer falleth under the care of 
Christ ; and accordingly he knoweth their names and their necessities : 
John x. 3, He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 
He knoweth his sheep by name, John, Anna, Thomas. As the high 
priest carried the names of the tribes upon his bosom, so Christ 
knows the names of all the flock of God. There is not a poor servant 
or scullion (who are despicable creatures in the world) but Christ looks 
after him : Ps. xxxiv. 6, This poor man cried, and the Lord heard 
him, and saved him out of all his troubles/ Poor soul ! he is under 
such temptations, encumbered with such troubles, in such a task or 


service. My Father gave me a charge of him, I must look to him. So 
many lambs as there are in the flock of Christ, there is not one forgotten. 

3. Christ is to give an account of them unto God. He doth it by 
his constant intercession ; of which this prayer is a copy : They have 
kept thy word : I am glorified in them/ Christ is speaking good 
words of them to the Father ; he giveth you a good report behind your 
back. Satan is an accuser; he loveth to report ill of believers ; but 
Christ telleth the Father how his lambs thrive. It is a grief to your 
advocate when he cannot speak well of you in heaven. But solemnly 
he will do it at the last day, when he is to present the elect to the 
tribunal of God : Heb. ii. 13, Behold I and the children which God 
hath given me/ Oh ! it is a goodly sight to see Christ and all his 
little ones come together to the throne of grace. There is not one 
forgotten in the presence of Christ and all his angels. Christ will not 
be ashamed to own a poor despicable boy. a manservant, or a maid 
servant, so they be faithful : Luke xii. 8, Whosoever shall confess 
me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels 
of God/ I died for this poor creature, and shed my blood for him. 
This is intended : 1 Cor. xv. 24, Then cometh the end, when he shall 
have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father/ A kingdom 
is sometimes put for the form of government, sometimes for subjects 
governed. The kingdom, that is the church, is solemnly presented as 
a prey snatched out of the teeth of lions : Eph. v. 27, tva irapaarrjarj, 
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having 
spot or wrinkle, or any such thing ; but that it should be holy and 
without blemish/ Christ will present his bride in triumph. 

Use 1. Comfort to believers. 

1. Concerning the safety of their eternal estate. Christ bargained 
for thee by name. That the Father and the Son should pitch upon 
such a forlorn and wretched piece of the creation as thou art, and they 
should talk together of thy heaven, 1 Son, this is one for whom thou 
must die ! That thy name should be in the eternal register, written 
with the Lamb s blood in his own book of life. I must have a care of 
him. Ay ! you will say, this were an excellent comfort, if I were sure 
I were one of them that is given to Christ. I answer If he hath 
given Christ to you, he hath given you to Christ. God niaketh an 
offer in the gospel. Are you willing to receive him for Lord and 
Saviour ? Then you put it out of question : To as many as received 
him, to them gave he power to become the children of God/ You 
are fellow-heirs with Christ. Christ is given to you in time. 

2. In your particular straits Christ hath a care of you. Do you 
think he will break his engagement ? Christ hath plighted his truth 
to God the Father. Our groundless jealousies question the truth of 
Christ s word and solemn agreement. When we say, The Lord hath 
forgotten me, this is in effect to say, Christ is not faithful in his 
charge. The prophet chideth them : Isa. xl. 27, Why sayest thou, 
Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and 
my judgment is passed over from my God? ; God doth not take 
notice of my case : such mistrust is a lie against the care of Christ. 

Use 2. To press us, especially humble sinners, you that walk in 

1 Qu. " thee ia heaven " ? ED. 

VER. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 139 

darkness, to come under these sweet hopes. God hath laid souls to 
pledge in the hand of Christ. Why should we be scrupulous ? All 
the Father s acts are ratified in time by believers. He ordaineth, we 
consent ; he chooseth Christ for lord and king : They shall appoint 
themselves one head/ Hosea i. 11. So he hath given souls to Christ, 
so should you. 

1. Commit your souls to him by faith ; this answereth to Christ s 
receiving the elect by way of charge : 1 Peter iv. 19, Let them that 
suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls 
to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful creator. A man ventureth 
upon duty, and trusteth God with his soul : Ps. xxxi. 5, Into thy 
hands do I commit my spirit. Paul knew Christ was an able and 
trusty friend : 2 Tim. i. 12, I know whom I have believed, and I am 
persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him 
against that day. Committing the soul to God is a notion often used 
in the matter of faith, and doth most formally express the nature of 
trust and adherence. He is willing to receive your souls, and he is 
able to make good the trust. Therefore, in all times of distress and 
danger, when all things are dark to us, upon the warrant of the gospel, 
let us commit the soul to Christ, to be kept to salvation ; refer your 
selves to his care for pardon, defence, support, and glory. 

2. Consecrate yourselves to Christ. Committing noteth trust ; con 
secrating, obedience. You commit yourselves to his care, you resign 
and yield up yourselves to his discipline. Committing answereth the 
charge, but consecration the grant : Eom. xii. 1, I beseech you, there 
fore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a 
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable 
service. By full consent a man embarketh with Christ, and is resolved 
no longer to be at his own keeping and disposal : Ps. cxix. 94, I am 
thine, save me, for I have sought thy precepts. I am thine ; Lord, I 
would not be my own, unless I be thine. As those who being denied 
protection by the Komans, offered up themselves and their whole estate 
to them. Si nostra tueri non vultis, at vestra defendetis ; quicquid 
passuri sumus, dedititii vestri patiantur, &c. 


And this is life eternal, that they might knotv thee the only true God, 
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. JOHN XVII. 3. 

HERE our Lord declareth the way, means, and order how he would 
give eternal life to the elect ; and so it is added as an amplification of 
the former argument. The words must be expounded by a metonymy. 
Such kind of predications are frequent in scripture : John iii. 19, 
This is the condemnation, &c. ; that is, the cause of it. Sometimes it 
signifies the outward means : John xii. 50, His commandment is 
life everlasting; that is, his word is the most assured means of it. 
Sometimes the principal cause : Jesus Christ is the true God and 
eternal life, 1 John v. 20 ; that is, the author of it. 


This is life eternal. Some understand these words formally, as if 
they were a description of eternal life, which consisteth in a sight of 
God. But I suppose it rather layeth down the way and means, and 
showeth rather what is the beginning and original of eternal life, than 
the formality and essence of it. It is not in this eternal life consisteth, 
but by this means it is gotten and obtained. 

1. Partly because the word jivcoa/cetv, which is here used, is proper 
to the light of faith ; and so it is used ver. 7, They have known that 
all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee ; and ver. 8, They 
have known surely that I came out from thee. Vision is proper to the 
light of glory. It is more usually expressed by seeing than knowing : 
ver. 24, Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be 
with me where I am, a/a Qewpwat, that they may behold my glory. 

2. Christ is proving the reason, that unless he were glorified, he 
could not bestow eternal life ; for there could be no knowledge without 
his ascension into heaven, and effusion of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, 
and so by consequence no eternal life. So that the words must be 
explained, This is life eternal ; that is, this is the way to life eternal, 
or life eternal begun, and in the root and foundation. 

That they may know thee. That must be understood by way of 
apposition ; this is life eternal to know thee : and knowledge is here 
put for faith or saving knowledge: It is a known rule that words of 
knowledge do imply suitable affections ; as 1 Thes. v. 12, We beseech 
you to know them which labour among you ; that is, reverence them. 
Or, more clearly to the present case : 1 John ii. 4, He that saith, I 
know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth 
is not in him. Our Saviour understandeth not naked and unactive 
speculations concerning God and Christ, or a naked map or model of 
divine truths. Bare knowledge cannot be sufficient to salvation, but a 
lively and effectual light. Faith is intended, as is clear by the mention 
of the double object God and Christ. He that knoweth God in 
Christ knoweth him for his reconciled Father, and so leaneth on him. 
And affections and motions of grace are intended ; for it must be such 
a knowledge of God as discerneth him to be the chiefest good and only 
happiness. They know not God that do not choose him for their por 
tion : They that know thy name will put their trust in thee, Ps. ix. 
10. Again, suitable practice and conversation is implied ; for surely 
St John knew Christ s meaning : 1 John ii. 3, Hereby we do know 
that we know him, if we keep his commandments. So that in know 
ledge all the genuine effects of it are included assent, affiance, prac 
tice, choice, necessary respect to God and Christ. Literal instruction is 
not enough to eternal life. A carnal man may know much of God 
and Christ, and yet be miserable. In point of the object, I know no 
difference between godly and carnal persons ; all the difference is in 
the force and efficacy ; as fair water and strong water differ not in 
colour, but only in strength and operation. I confess, in matters evan 
gelical, nature is most blind ; but by reason of common gifts they may 
have a great proportion of knowledge, as to the letter, more than many 
of God s children. But of this elsewhere. 

The only true God : TOV povov a\,rj0tvov deov. Much ado there 
hath been about this clause, I shall endeavour to bring all to a short 

VER. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 141 

decision. The doubt is, How can the Father be said to be the only 
true God, since the Spirit and the Son do also communicate in the 
divine essence ? 

1. Some to solve the matter, invert the order of the words thus, To 
know thee and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent, to be the only true 
God. But if the construction would bear it, what provision is there 
then made for the godhead of the Holy Spirit, which is also a funda 
mental article ? 

2. Some say that the Father is not to be taken strictly and per 
sonally for the first person, but essentially for the whole godhead. But 
this seemeth not so plausible an answer, for then Christ must pray to 
himself. He prayeth here as God-man, and all along to the Father. 
For my part, I think the expression is used for a twofold reason 
(1.) To exclude the idols and false gods ; (2.) To note the order and 
economy of salvation. 

[1.] To exclude the idols of the Gentiles, foreign and false gods, such 
as are extra-essential to the Father ; and to note that that godhead is 
only true that is in the Father ; <re rbv JJLOVOV aXtjdivbv 6ebv Thee 
the only, thee the true God/ The Son and the Holy Ghost are npt 
excluded, who are of the same essence with the Father. Christ and 
the Spirit are true God, not without, but in the Father : John x. 30, 
I and my Father are one : John xiv. 30, I am in the Father, and 
the Father in me ; not divided in essence, though distinguished in 
personality. Such kind of expressions are usual in the scriptures, 
when any of the persons are spoken of singly ; as Horn. ix. 5, where 
Christ is said to be God over all, blessed for ever. And more ex 
pressly, he is said to be 0ebs dXrjdivbs, the only true God/ 1 John 
v. 20 ; by which neither the Father nor the Spirit are excluded from 
the godhead. Many such exclusive particles there are in scrip 
ture, which must be expounded by the analogy of faith ; as Mat. xi. 
27, None knoweth the Son but the Father ; neither knoweth any man 
the Father, but the Son ; where the Spirit is not excluded, who 
searcheth the depths of God, 1 Cor. ii. 10. One person of the Trinity 
doth not exclude the rest. So see Isa. xliii. 11, I, even I, am the Lord ; 
and besides me there is no Saviour ; which is applied to Christ : Acts iv. 
12, Neither is there salvation in any other ; for there is no other 
name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved ; it 
only excludeth \e<yo/jievov<; 0eov<}, those that are called gods, 1 Cor. 
viii. 5. There is no God but one. Many are called gods, but to us 
there is but one God, the Father. As also it is the scope of Christ ; 
he would lay down the summary of Christian doctrine ; the one mem 
ber being opposed to the vanity of the Gentiles, the other to the blind 
ness of the Jews. 

[2.] To note the order and economy of salvation, in which the 
Father is represented as supreme, in whom the sovereign majesty of 
the deity resideth, and the Son sustaineth the office of mediator and 
servant : John xiv. 28, My Father is greater than I ; not in respect 
of nature or essential glory, for therein they are both equal : Phil. ii. 
6, Who, being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to be equal 
with God ; but in the order of redemption, in which the Father is 
the principal party representing the whole deity, because he is the 


original and fountain of it. So 1 Cor. viii. 6, But to us there is but 
one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him ; and one 
Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. God 
the Father is to be conceived as the supreme person, or ultimate ob 
ject of worship, and the Son as lord and mediator. 

And Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent ; that is, Jesus Christ, 
not as the second person in the Trinity, but as mediator. 

Sent, implieth 

1. Christ s divine original : he came forth from God ; he is legatus 
a latere : John xvi. 30, By this we know that thou earnest forth 
from God/ He was a person truly existing before he was sent into 
the world, and a distinct person from the Father ; for he that sendeth 
and he that is sent are distinguished. 

2. His incarnation: Gal. iv. 4, When the fulness of time was 
come, God sent forth his Son made of a woman/ 

3. It implieth his whole office of mediator and redeemer ; wherefore 
he is called the apostle and high priest of our profession, Heb. iii. 1. 
Apostle implieth one that was sent. Christ was the chief apostle and 
messenger of heaven ; the high priest and apostle/ The high priest 
hood was the highest calling in the Jewish church, and the apostleship 
the highest calling in the Christian church ; to note that the whole 
office of saving all the church, the elect of all ages, is originally in 
Christ. He is the great ambassador to treat with us from God, and 
the high priest to treat with God and appease his wrath for us. 

The names of Christ are also of some use. Such scriptures are like 
gold, that may be beaten into thin leaves. In summaries and breviats 
every mark and letter is of use. 

Jesus signifieth a saviour, as it is explained Mat. i. 21, Thou shalt 
call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins/ 
This is a part of our belief, to acknowledge Christ a saviour. Then 
Christ siguifieth anointed. 

We shall draw out the sum of all in a few points. 

First, Observe, the beginning, increase, and perfection of eternal 
life lieth in knowledge. 

[1.] The beginning of it is in knowledge. Knowledge is the first 
step to eternal life. In paradise Adam s two symbols were the tree 
of knowledge and the tree of life. As light was the first creature that 
God made, so it is in the new creation : Col. iii. 10, Put on the new 
man, who is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created 
him/ By the enlightening of the Holy Ghost, the work of grace is 
begun, and the seed of glory is laid in the heart. The Holy Ghost 
representeth the pattern, and then conformeth us to it. Kegenera- 
tion is nothing but a transforming light, or such an illumination as 
changes the heart : 2 Cor. iii. 18, We all with open face beholding 
as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image 
from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of our God ; Eph. iv. 23, 
Be renewed in the spirit of your minds/ It maketh our notions of 
God and Christ to be active and effectual. The force of the new na 
ture is first upon the mind ; it taketh sin out of the throne. God, in. 
the order of grace, followeth the order which he hath established in 
nature. Eeason and judgment is to go before the will. 

VER. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 143 

2. The increase of it is by knowledge : 2 Peter iii. 18, But grow in 
grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 
The more thou growest in knowledge, the more thou growest in life. 
All the gradual progress and increase of the spiritual life is by the in 
crease of light : 2 Peter i. 2, Grace be multiplied unto you by the 
knowledge of God and Jesus Christ our Lord. Heat doth increase by 
light, as a room is warmer at high noon than in a chill morning. I 
confess through corruption and literary airy knowledge, men grow 
more carnal and careless, as new light quencheth old heat ; but by the 
light of the Spirit the heart is more quickened and enlivened ; and as 
the judgment is made solid, so the heart is more gracious. 

3. The perfection of it is by knowledge: Ps. xvii. 15, When I 
awake, I shall be satisfied with thy likeness/ The heaven of heavens 
is to satisfy the understanding with the knowledge of God. One 
great end of our going to heaven is to better our notions and appre 
hensions. While the soul is prisoner in the body, we have but low 
and dark thoughts ; but there we are illuminated on a sudden. One 
glimpse of God in glory will inform us more than the study of a 
thousand years. 

Use 1. Is to show us the sad estate 

1. Of men without knowledge: Prov. xix. 2, Also that the soul be 
without knowledge, it is not good. Fruit that hath but little sun can 
never be ripe. Men will say we are ignorant, but we hope we have 
a good heart. You can as well be without the sun in the world, as 
without knowledge and light in the heart. In all the communications 
of grace, God beginneth with the understanding ; as strength to bear 
afflictions: Jer. xxxi. 19, After I was instructed, I smote on my 
thigh, and was ashamed, yea even confounded, because I did bear the 
reproach of my youth ; James i. 5, If any of you lack wisdom, let 
him ask it of God. It is the perfection of the present life, and the 
foundation of the next. It is the perfection of the present life, the 
excellency of a man above the beasts ; the more knowledge, the more a 
man ; and the more ignorant, the more brutish : Ps. xlix. 20, Man 
that is in honour and understandeth not is like the beasts that perish ; 
Job xxv. 11, Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and 
rnaketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven. If a man would glory in 
anything, it should be in the knowledge of God : Jer. ix. 24, Let him 
that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me/ 

2. Of those that have only a washy weak knowledge, not a living 
light and knowledge, that is rooted in their own hearts ; they talk like 
parrots : like the moon, they are dark themselves, though from others 
they shine to others ; like vintners that keep wine, not for use, but for 
sale : the cellar may be better stored, but it is for others : 2 Peter i. 8, 
For if these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall 
be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus 
Christ/ It is a disparagement to know Christ and never be the better 
for him. These are like the nobleman of Samaria, that saw the plenty 
of Samaria, but could not taste of it. Surely there are not greater 
atheists in the world than carnal scholars that have a great deal of 
light, but no grace. It is sad to hear of such a Christ and feel no 
thing : John xvii. 17, Sanctify them through thy truth ; thy word is 


truth. They who are able to understand the word, but to no pur 
pose, must needs doubt of the truth of it. 

Use. 2. To press Christians to grow in knowledge, that they may 
enter upon eternal life by degrees : Hos. vi. 3, Follow on to know 
the Lord. There is a growth in knowledge as well as grace. It is not 
so sensible in the very increase and progress as that of grace is ; be 
cause growth in grace is always cum luctu, with some strife, but the 
work upon the understanding is more still and silent. Draw away 
the curtain, and the light cometh in, and our ignorance vanisheth 
silently, and without such strife as goeth to the taming of lusts and 
vile affections ; yet afterwards it is sensible that we have grown : 
Ye were darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord/ Eph. v. 8 ; as a 
plant increaseth in length and stature, though we do not see the 
progress. We read of Jesus Christ that he grew in knowledge ; we 
do not read that he grew in grace : he received the Spirit without 
measure, and nothing could be added to the perfection of his innocence. 
Yet it is said, Luke ii. 40, The child grew ; and ver. 52, Jesus 
increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and 
man. The Godhead made out itself to him by degrees. Oh ! let 
us increase. It is notable that Moses his first request to God was 
Tell me thy name ; and afterward, Show me thy glory, a more 
full manifestation of God. We should not always keep to our milk, 
our infant notions and apprehensions, but go on to a greater increase ; 
it much advanceth your spiritual life, and will be an advantage to 
your eternal life. They have the highest visions of God hereafter, 
that know most of him here upon earth. They are vessels of a 
larger capacity ; and though all be perfect, yet with a difference. 

Now for means and directions, take these : 

1. Wait upon the preaching of the word. God appointed it, and 
hath given gifts to the church for this end and purpose. We should 
quicken one another : Isa. ii. 3, Come and let us go up to the house 
of the Lord, and he will teach us his ways. God s grace is given in 
his own way. When men neglect and despise God s solemn institu 
tions, they either grow brutish or fanatical, as we see by daily experi 
ence. Light as well as flame is kept in by the breath of preaching. 
By long attention you grow skilful in the word of righteousness. Men 
that despise the word may be more full of crotchets and curiosities, but 
that light is darkness. It is disputed which is the sense of learning, 
hearing or seeing. By the eye we see things, but must, by reason of 
innate ignorance, be taught how to judge of them. 

2. You must read the word with diligence ; that is every man s work 
that hath a soul to be saved. They that busy themselves in other 
books will not have such lively impressions : Ps. i. 2, His delight is 
in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night; 
that must be our exercise, not play-books, stories, and idle sonnets. How 
many sacrilegious hours do many spend this way ! Castce delicice mece 
sunt scriplurce tuce Augustine. Nay, good books should not keep 
from the scriptures. Luther in Gen. chap. xix. saith, Ego odi libros 
meos, et scepe opto eos interire, ne morentur lectores, et abducant a lec- 
tione ipsius scriptures. We should go to the fountain : 2 Tim. iii. 15, 
And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are 

VER. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 145 

able to make thce wise unto salvation. We put a disparagement upon 
the word when we savour and relish human writings, though never so 
good and excellent, better than the word of God itself. This is the 
.standing rule by which all doctrines must be confirmed ; and you do 
not know what sweet, fresh, and savoury thoughts the Spirit of God 
may stir up in your own minds ; for word-representations are not so 
taking as our own inward thoughts and discourses ; these, like a draught 
of wine from the tap, are more fresh and lively. It is necessary, as I 
.said before, to wait upon preaching, to hear what others can say out of 
the scriptures ; but it is good to read too, that we may preach to our 
selves. Every man is fittest to commune with his own heart ; and 
that conviction which doth immediately arise out of the word is more 
prevalent. A man can be angry with any preacher but conscience. In 
another, when a matter is expressed to our case, we are apt to suspect 
the mixture of passion and private aims ; but read thyself, and what 
thoughts are stirred up upon thy reading will be most advantageous to 
thee. Besides, those that are studious of the word have this sensible 
advantage, that they have the promises, the doctrines, the examples of 
the word more familiar and ready with them upon all cases. It is said 
of one, that he was a living bible and a walking library, /3t/3Xo9 e^v- 
-^o<f, Kal fjuovaaiov TrepnraTovv ; such a Christian is a walking concord 
ance. And whereas other Christians are weak, unsettled in comfort or 
opinion, these have always scriptures ready. And let me tell you, in 
the whole work of grace you will find no weapon so effectual as the 
sword of the Spirit, as scriptures readily and seasonably urged. There 
fore no diligence here is too much. If you would not be barren and 
sapless in discourse with others, if you would not be weak and comfort 
less in yourself, read the scriptures, that you may bring sic scriptum est 
upon every temptation, and urge the solid grounds of our comfort. I 
speak the more in so plain a point, because I would make men more 
conscionable, both in their closets and families, in this point, that they 
may not only have recourse to learned helps, and books of a human 
original, but to the word itself. 

3. The scriptures must be read with prayer. We must plough 
with God s heifer if we would understand his riddle ; we must beg 
the Spirit s help. The Spirit is the best , interpreter : bene orasse, 
est bene studuisse. Every minister findeth prayer to be his best 
comment. So should you pray before and after reading the scrip 
tures, as you do before and after you receive your bodily food. 
You do not know how prayer will clear up the eyes : Ps. cxix. 18, 
4 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy 
law. There is some excellency in the letter of the scriptures ; but 
this is nothing to what we see by the Spirit ; it will make a man won 
der at the excellency, efficacy, consonancy of these truths ; a man seeth 
far more than ever he saw before. The Spirit is needful both to open 
the heart and to open the scriptures: Luke xxiv. 32, Did not our 
hearts burn when he opened to us the scriptures? compared with ver. 
45, Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand 
the scriptures. To understand the truth, and to give us an active and 
certain persuasion of it ; to open the heart, Acts xvi. 14, inclining it 
to obedience, giving in light, that works a ready assent and firm per 
suasion, bringing forward the heart with power to obedience. In dark 

VOL. x. K 


places and difficult cases, when you have no certainty, you should 
cry for knowledge, and lift up your voice for understanding ; as 
the blind man that cried to Jesus, Lord ! that I might receive my 
sight/ Mark x. 52. 

4. Study the creatures. God is known out of his word, but his 
works give us a sensible demonstration of him. You have David s- 
night and day meditation. His night meditation : Ps. viii. 3, When 
I consider thy heavens, the work of thy hands, the moon and the stars 
which thou hast ordained/ Not a word of the sun, the most noble 
creature : Ps. xix. 5, he speaks of the going forth of the sun like a 
bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoicing as a strong man 
to run a race ; that is his morning meditation. When we walk out 
in the night or morning, we may think of God, view his stupendous 
works. The heathens had no other bible. Consider that the huge 
weight of the earth hangeth on nothing, like a ball in the air : Job 
xxiii. 7, He stretcheth out the north upon the empty place, and 
hangeth the earth upon nothing. Consider the beauty of the heavens, 
with their ornaments ; the bounding of the sea ; the artifice in the 
frame of the smallest creatures, the excellent ministries, and subordi 
nation of the services of the creatures one to another, &c. 

5. Spiritualise every outward advantage, so as to raise your hearts 
in the contemplation of God. As when we observe the wisdom of a 
father, or the bowels of a mother, let us take occasion to exalt the love 
and care of God. As from a mother s bowels : Isa, xlix. 15, Can a 
woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion 
on the son of her womb ? Yea, they may forget ; yet will I not forget 
thee. From the wisdom of a father : Mat. vii. 11, If ye then, being 
evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more 
shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that 
ask him ? Tarn pater nemo, tarn pius nemo. So the centurion men 
tions his own command and government when he desires Christ to put 
forth his power : Mat. viii. 8, 9, Speak the word only, and my servant 
shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers 
under me ; and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth ; and to another, 
Come, and he cometh ; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. 
As if he should say, All sicknesses are at thy beck, as well as these 
soldiers at mine. In your carriage to your children, and theirs to you, 
you may sublimate your thoughts to consider of that commerce be 
tween you and God. So in the work of your callings ; a little is use 
ful for bringing great matters to pass ; think of providence. I press 
this, because it will be a double advantage ; it will keep the heart 
heavenly, and you will serve faith out of common experiences, and so 
it will help us in our notions of God ; for if limited creatures go thus 
far, how much more excellent is God ! 

6. Purge your heart more and more from carnal affections ; these 
are the clouds of the mind, as in fenny countries the air is seldom clear : 
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, Mat. v. 8. We 
usually look upon God through the glass of our own humours. Carnal 
men fancy the eternal essence as one of their society, and misfigure 
God in their thoughts. 

7. The last is, in the progress of knowledge, or search of truth, 
beware of novelism : 2 Tim. iii. 14, Continue thou in the things thou 

VER. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvu. 147 

hast learnt and been assured of, knowing from whom thou hast learned 
them/ There is as great care to keep what we have, as to gain more 
knowledge. The devil taketh advantage of our changes ; when we 
renounce old errors, he bringeth man to question truth ; as in public 
changes, when men shake off the ordinances of men, he stirreth up others 
to question the ordinances of God. And I have observed that some, 
out of a pretence of growing in knowledge, put themselves upon a flat 
scepticism and wary reservation, holding nothing certain for the pre 
sent, but waiting for new light ; such as these the apostle intendeth, 
2 Tim. iii. 7, Ever learning, and never coming to the knowledge of 
the truth ; they make profession of being studious in sacred things, 
but never come to any settlement, and are loath to hold to any prin 
ciples, lest they should shut the door upon new light. New light is 
become a dangerous word, especially now in the latter times ; now we 
have a promise that knowledge shall be increased/ Dan. xii. 4. Aims 
at knowledge is the dangerous snare of these times, as the Gnostics 
pretended to more knowledge. This is a great snare. Satan promised 
more knowledge to our first parents : Gen. iii. 5, God doth know that 
in the day ye eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall 
be as gods, knowing good and evil ; which example the apostle 
setteth before our eyes, 2 Cor. xi. 3, But I fear lest by any means, as 
the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be 
corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. And he telleth us, 
Satan turneth himself into an angel of light, ver. 13, 14. 
Now for your direction know : 

1. Progress in knowledge is rather in degrees than parts ; not in 
new truths, but greater proportions of light. Light respecteth the 
medium, truth the object. I say, it is rather, not altogether. A man 
may walk in present practices which future light may disprove and 
retract ; but usually the increase of a Christian is rather in the mea 
sure of knowledge than difference of objects. Oar old principles are 
improved and perfected : Prov. iv. 18, The path of the just is as the 
shining light, that shineth more and more to the perfect day/ To 
know God more, and Christ more, to be more practically skilful in the 
word of righteousness : Heb. v. 14, Strong meat belongeth to them 
that are of full age, who by reason of use have their senses exercised 
to discern both good and evil/ 

2. That fundamentals in the scripture are clear and certain. God 
hath not left us in the dark, but pointed out a clear way to heaven, of 
faith and good works : Eph. ii. 10, We are his workmanship, created 
in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that 
we should walk in them/ It is a disparagement to the word to make 
it an uncertain rule. The way to heaven is beaten, and we may ob 
serve the track and footprints of the flock. It is a good observation 
of Chrysostom, that the saints do not complain of the darkness of the 
scripture, but of their own hearts : Open thou mine eyes/ not, Make 
a new law/ 

3. These necessary doctrines must be entertained without doubt and 
hesitancy. It is dangerous when foundation-stones lie loose. We are 
pressed to stand fast in the faith, 1 Cor. xvi. 13, and to hold the pro 
fession cf it without wavering, Heb. x. 23 ; not to inquire after 
the gods of the nations, Dent. xii. 30 ; and Gal. i. 8, Though an 


angel from heaven should preach any other doctrine to you than that 
which ye have heard, let him be accursed. The notion of new light 
chiefly aimeth at undermining the old doctrine of the scriptures. For 
the main of religion, a man should be settled above doubt and contra 
diction. Till we have certainty there cannot be grace. The soul is 
not brought under the power of truth ; for things that are contro 
versial have no efficacy and force. The great hindrance of saving 
knowledge is that natural atheism, and those habituated, doubts which 
are found in the heart. 

4. We must be zealous for lesser truths when we have received them 
upon certain grounds. Every piece and parcel of truth is precious ; a 
little leaven of error is dangerous: Gal. v. 9, A little leaven leaveneth 
the whole lump. Error fretteth like a gangrene, and grows still 
higher and higher. Men think it is enough to be careful of funda 
mentals ; all other knowledge is but scientia oblectans, for delight, 
not safety. Oh ! it is dangerous to stain the understanding, though 
you do not wound it. There are maculce and vulnera intellectus. It 
is dangerous to be wanton in opinions that seem to be of smaller con 
cernment. Men that play with truth leave themselves open to more 
dangerous errors. Some say, Fundamentals are few ; believe them, 
and live well, and you are saved. This is as if a man in building 
should be only careful to lay a good foundation, no matter for roof, 
windows, or walls. If a man should untile your house, and tell you 
the foundation, the main buttresses are safe, you would not be pleased. 
Why should we be more careless in spiritual things ? 

5. Take up no practices nor principles but upon full conviction. 
This imposeth a necessity of often change, or at least of frequent 
doubting. Men do not search, but act out of blind obedience, and 
then they are liable to seduction: 1 Thes. v. 21, Prove all things, 
hold fast that which is good. It is a pertinacy, not a constancy, when 
I have no clear warrant. A Christian should be able to give an 
answer to every man that asketh him a reason of the hope that is in 
him, with meekness and fear, 1 Peter iii. 1 5 ; otherwise we shall never 
be able to secure our practices and opinions against the objections in 
our own hearts, and answer the sophister in our own bosoms. 

Secondly, Observe that no knowledge is sufficient to life eternal but 
the knowledge of God and Christ. I am to prove (1.) No other 
knowledge is sufficient ; (2.) How far this is enough for such an end 
and purpose. 

The scripture asserts both, for the words are exclusive and assertive; 
there is no other knowledge, and this is sufficient. 

1. No other knowledge is sufficient to life eternal. I shall prove it 
by two arguments : 

[1.] Out of Christ we cannot know God. The Gentiles had TO 
ryvwarrov, something that was known of God, Eom. i. 19, 20, which 
served to leave them without excuse, but not to save their souls. The 
apostle instanceth in such attributes as are obvious, but more terrible 
than comfortable, as eternity, power, &c. They had some loose 
thoughts of his Godhead and power, but no distinct view of his 
essence ; that is reserved for the scriptures. The scriptures are the 
picture of Christ, and Christ is the image of the Father : 2 Cor. iv. 4, 
Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of 


God, should shine upon them. God never made out himself to the 
world in that latitude and greatness as he hath done to the world in 
Christ. In Christ s person and kingdom the majesty of God is known ; 
in the divine power of his operations, the strength of God ; in the ex 
cellency of his benefits, the love of God. The wisest heathens, that 
hath no other glass than the hook of the creatures wherehy to dress up 
their apprehensions, could only see a first cause, a first mover, a being 
of beings, some great lord and governor of the order of the world, 
whom they mightily transformed and misfigured in their thoughts; 
they knew nothing distinctly of creation and providence, of the nature 
of worship, which is necessary ; for whosoever is saved must not only 
know God s essence, but his will, for otherwise we shall but. grope as 
the heathens did : Acts xvii. 27, That they should seek the Lord, if 
haply they should feel after him, and find him/ We cannot seek him 
to satisfaction. 

[2.] Without Christ, no enjoying of God. It must be such a know 
ledge as bringeth God and the soul together. Now between us and 
him there is a great gulf; all gracious commerce is broken off between 
God and the fallen creature : John xiv. 6, No man cometh unto the 
Father but by me. No free trade unto heaven but by Jacob s ladder: 
John i. 51, Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of 
God ascending and descending upon the Son of man/ There is no 
access but by Christ ; and so no salvation but by him : Acts iv. 12, 
Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name 
under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved/ In the 
fallen state of man there is need of a mediator. In innocency we 
might immediately converse with God : God loved his own image. 
What could a just and holy man fear from a just and holy God? But 
now, that of God s creatures we are made his prisoners, we can expect 
nothing of mercy, because he is just. Guilty nature presage th nothing 
but evil : Eom. i. 32, Who knowing the judgment of God, that they 
which commit such things are worthy of death/ The great question 
of the world is, Wherewith shall I appease him, to give his justice 
content and satisfaction ? Micah vi. 8. In all the inventions of men, 
they could never find out a sufficient ransom to expiate sin, to recon 
cile God, to sanctify human nature, that we might have commerce with 

2. The sufficiency of this knowledge. For understanding of this, 
you must know that all breviates, where religion is reduced to a few 
heads, must be enlarged according to the just extent of the rule of 
faith ; as in the commandments, where all moral duties are reduced to 
ten words ; so in the summaries of the gospel, far more is intended 
than is expressed. 

As for instance, there are two things in the text the means and 
the object; the means, know ; the object, thee/ and Jesus Christ/ 

1. The means, know/ It implieth acknowledgment, faith, fear, 
reverence, love, worship, and the glorifying God in our conversations. 
For it is easy to prove out of scripture the necessary concurrence of 
all these things in their order and place. For if I know God to be 
the only true God, I must fear, reverence, and obey him, or else I do 
not glorify him as God; as it is said of the heathens, Rom. i. 21, 


When they knew God, they glorified him not as God. It is not a 
naked sight of his essence that will save a man : I must know him for 
a practical end, to choose him, and carry myself to him as an all-suffi 
cient portion : I must honour him as the giver of all things ; revere 
and worship him as the just governor of the world ; and live purely, 
as he is pure ; and worship him in a way suitable to the infiniteness, 
perfectness, and simplicity of his nature. A man is not saved by 
holding a right opinion of God. A man may be a Christian in opinion 
and a pagan in life. So if I know Jesus Christ to be sent of God as 
mediator, 1 am to close with him, receive him as such by an active 
faith : Acts iv. 12, There is no salvation in any other ; not only by 
no other, but in him ; it noteth union and close adherence, and not 
only that I should be of this opinion. As when a man is ready to 
perish in the floods, it is not enough to see land, but he must reach it, 
stand upon it, if he would be safe ; so we must get into the ark ; many 
saw it and scoffed, but all others were drowned in that general wrack 
that were not in it. There was no security for the manslayer till he 
got into the city of refuge : Phil. iii. 9, That I may be found in him. 
It is not enough to cry, Lord, Lord ; to have a naked opinion, or 
general and loose desires. 

2. For the object, To know thee the only true God. There are 
many articles comprised that are necessary to salvation ; as that God 
is but one : Deut. vi. 4, Hear, Israel, the Lord thy God is one 
Lord. One in three persons : 1 John v. 7, There are three that bear 
record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost ; and 
these three are one. This God is a spirit : John iv. 24, God is a 
spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in 
truth. He is holy, just, infinite, the creator of all tilings ; that he 
upholdeth all things in his eternal decree, raising some to glory, 
leaving others, by their sins, to come to judgment: Rom. ix. 22, 23, 
What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power 
known, endured with much long-suifering the vessels of wrath fitted 
to destruction ; and that he might make known the riches of his glory 
on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory ? 
All these articles concerning God. So concerning Christ, that he is 
the second person, incarnate, anointed to be a Saviour, to convince 
the world of sin, of righteousness, of judgment, John xvi. 8. Of man s 
misery by nature, redemption by Christ, necessity of holiness, as a 
foundation of glory ; all the articles of the practical catechism. It is 
a pestilent opinion to think that every man may be saved if he do in 
the general acknowledge Christ. It is said, Acts ii. 21, Whosoever 
shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved ; not on the Lord/ 
but on the name of the Lord. By the name of the Lord is meant 
all that which shall be revealed to us of the Lord Jesus in the scrip 
tures. The meaning is, whosoever doth receive, acknowledge, and 
worship Christ, according to what the scriptures do reveal and testify 
of him, shall be saved. Many think the differences of Christendom 
vain, and this general faith enough ; but if a general acknowledgment 
were enough, why hath God revealed so many things, and given us 
such an ample rule, if with safety to salvation we may be ignorant 
whether he were true God and true man ; whether he redeemed us by 

YER. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 151 

satisfaction, or justified us by works, yea or no? They seem to tax 
the scriptures of redundances, and the apostles of rash zeal, for dis 
puting with such earnestness for the faith of the saints, as Paul against 
Justiciaries, James against the Antinomists and Libertines, if a general 
profession of Christ was enough. So they tax the martyrs of folly, 
that would shed their blood for less-concerning articles. So all be 
resolved into Christ, men think it is enough : we need not inquire into 
the manner of the application of his righteousness, the efficacy and 
merit of his passion ; as if it were enough to hold a few generals, and 
the more implicit our faith the better. Whereas the Lord would have 
us to abound in knowledge ; and if we persist in any particular error 
against light, or do not search it out, our case is dangerous, if not 
damnable. I shall not take upon me to determine what articles are 
absolutely necessary to salvation ; it will be hard to define, and we 
know not by what rule to proceed. In the general, it is exceeding 
dangerous to lessen the misery of man s nature, the merit and satis 
faction of Christ, or the care of good works ; these are contrary to that 
doctrine which the Spirit teacheth and urgeth in the church : John 
xvi. 8, When he is come, he will convince the world of sin, of right 
eousness, and of judgment. All that can be certain is, that those 
opinions which are irreconcilable with the covenant of grace, or do 
overturn the pillar upon which it standeth, are irreconcilable with 

Use 1. To confute them that say that every man shall be saved in 
his own religion, if he be devout therein, Turks, Jews, heathens ; and 
among Christians, Papists, Socinians, &c. You see this is life eternal; 
this, and nothing else no religion but that which teacheth rightly 
to believe in Christ is a way of salvation. There is no salvation but 
by Christ : 1 Cor. iii. 11, For other foundation can no man lay than 
that is laid, which is Jesus Christ ; ; Acts iv. 12, Neither is there 
salvation in any other ; for there is no other riame under heaven given 
among men whereby we must be saved/ There is no salvation by 
Christ but by faith and knowledge. They cannot have benefit by 
him, as some say, if they live only according to the law and light of 
nature : Heb. xi. 6, Without faith it is impossible to please God ; 
and here it is said, This is life eternal, to know thee the only true 
God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. The heathens had 
many moral virtues, but unless God did reveal himself to them by 
extraordinary ways, which we cannot judge of, all their privilege was 
ut mitius ardeant, their works being but splendida peccata. If any 
now may be saved without Christ, Christ is dead in vain, and we may 
want the whole gospel and yet be safe ; the philosophy of Aristotle 
and Seneca would be the way and power of God unto salvation, as well 
as the gospel. We must have a care lest, by going about to make 
them Christians, we make ourselves heathens. 

Use 2. Let us bless God for the gospel, that revealeth God and 
Christ. Many nations are spilt on the world without any knowledge 
of God and Christ, and are as sheep, whom no man taketli up. 
Blessed be God for our privileges. When we look to the hole of the 
pit from whence we were digged, we shall find ourselves as barbarous 
as others. Portenta diabolica pene JEgyptiaca numina vincentm, saith 


Gildas of our idols. God threateneth Israel, Hosea ii. 3, I will strip 
her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born. If we should 
despise the gospel, abuse the messengers of it, God will return us to- 
our old barbarism ; and we that were so shy of letting in popery, 
should usher in atheism. When the professors of the gospel were 
banished Cambridge, and Peter Martyr heard the sacring bell, he said,. 
There is the gospel s passing bell. It would be sad if we should hear 
such a sound. The ministry (I may speak it without arrogancy) are 
the only visible party that uphold the life of religion in the land : the 
Lord knows what may be the sad fruits of their suppression, if either 
these lights should be extinguished by violence, or be starved for want 
of oil. Methinks our message should make our feet beautiful. We 
preach God and Christ. If we be a little earnest for the faith of the 
saints, remember it is for the good of your souls ; it cannot be zeal for 
our interests, for this is the way to endanger them. Bear with us, it 
is in a case of salvation or damnation : If we be besides ourselves, it 
is for Christ/ 2 Cor. v. 13. If we seem to hazard all, many nations 
to whom God hath denied the mercy, would welcome it with all 
thanksgiving ; when God hath opened a door of hope to the Indians, 
it may be it will be more precious. 

Use 3. Study God in Jesus Christ. This is the most glorious sub 
ject of contemplation ; there we may find him infinitely just and yet 
merciful, pardoning sinners yet salving the authority of this law ; 
there we may see God and man in one person, and the beams of divine 
majesty allayed by the veil of human nature. In the godhead of 
Christ we may see his power, in his human nature his love and con 
descension. He is our Lord, and yet our brother ; a man, and yet 
God s fellow and equal : Zech. xiii. 7, Awake, sword, against my 
shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of 
hosts. He would have a mother on earth, that we might have a 
Father in heaven ; our relation and alliance to heaven groweth by 
him. In Christ only can we look upon God as a father: Deum 
absolutum debent omnes fugerc qui non volunt perire ; otherwise we 
shall perish, and be overwhelmed with despair. Again, non solum, 
periculosum est, sed etiam horribile, de Deo extra Christum cogitare. 
In trials and temptations it is dangerous to think of God alone, to 
consider him out of Christ ; but here infinite majesty condescendeth 
to converse with you. The Indian gymnosophists would lie on their 
backs, and gaze on the sun all day. Oh ! how should we, by the 
deliberate gaze of faith, reflect upon this //,eya /mvaTijpiov, 1 Tim. 
iii. 16, this glorious mystery, fit for angels to look into ! Only get 
an interest in it, or else it will be more cold and comfortless ; thy 
God and thy Christ, that is another thing when thou canst own God 
as thy father and Christ as thy brother. Luther saith, Deus magis 
cognoscitur in prcedicamento relationis quam in prwdicamento sub 
stantive To know God in relation to us is far sweeter than to be able 
curiously to discourse of his essence : John xiv. 20, At that day ye 
shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 
When we know God in Christ, and Christ in us, this is to know him 
indeed ; not only by hearsay, but acquaintance, to know him so as to 
love him, and enjoy him. 


Use 4. To press us to seek salvation in no other but in God through 
Christ. Come to Christ ; you are in need of salvation, and there is no 
other way : Acts iv. 12, Neither is there salvation in any other, for 
there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we 
must be saved. Christ is an all-sufficient Saviour, able to save unto 
the uttermost all that come unto God through him/ Heb. vii. 25 ; a 
blaster broad enough for every sore. Do you cast yourselves upon 
him ; see if he will refuse you : John vi. 37, He that cometh unto 
me, I will in no wise cast off. 

Now I shall come to the particulars that are to be known concerning 
God and Christ. 

First, Concerning God. 

Doct. 1. That there is a God. This is the supreme truth, and first 
to be known : Heb. xi. 6, They that come to God must believe that 
he is. The discussion is not needless. Though it be impossible to 
deface those impressions of the deity which are engraven upon our 
hearts, yet the drift of our desires and thoughts goeth this way, as if 
there were no God : Ps. x. 4, The wicked, through the pride of his coun 
tenance, will not seek after God ; God is not in all his thoughts. All 
his thoughts are, There is no God : Ps. xiv. 1, The fool hath said in 
his heart, There is no God. Though he durst not speak it out, yet 
he saith it in his heart, he entertaineth some such suspicious thoughts- 
and desires about this matter. Those that are guilty of treason would 
fain destroy the court-rolls ; so carnal men would destroy all memorials 
of God. Yea, many of the children of God feel this temptation. IB 
there a God ? It will not be lost labour to answer the inquiry. I 
shall pitch upon such arguments as are every man s money. 

1. God is evidenced by his works : 

[1.] Of creation. The world is a great book and volume, the 
creatures are letters, the most excellent are capital letters. If you 
cannot read, the beasts will teach you : Job xii. 7, 8, Ask now the 
beasts, and they will teach thee ; and the fowls of the air, and they 
shall tell thee. Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee ; and 
the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all 
these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this ? The mute fishes, 
that can hardly make any sound, have voice enough to proclaim their 
creator. The apostle tells us, Horn. i. 20, The invisible things of 
him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood 
by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead/ 
Like Phidias, who in his image carved his own name, there is God 
engraven upon every creature. But how doth the world show that 
there is a God ? There must be some supreme and infinite cause, for 
nothing can be cause to itself; then it would be before it is. Aristotle 
acknowledged irpwrov ahiov, a first cause. Every house must have a 
builder, and this curious fabric an infinitely wise architect. Thou that 
deniest God, or doubtest of his being, look upon the heavens : Ps. xix. 
1, The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth 
his handiwork. His glory shineth in the sun, and sparkles in the stars. 
The sun is a representative of God in the brightness of his beams, ex 
tent of his influence, indefatigableness of his motion. All the motions 
of the creatures are so many pulses, by which we may feel after God. 


[2.] By works of providence. The world is made up of tilings of 
different and destructive natures, and all that we now see would soon 
run into disorder and confusion were it not poised and tempered with 
a wise hand ; and when we are stupid, and do not mind these things, 
providence discovereth itself in judgments and unwonted operations: 
Ps. Iviii. 11, So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the 
righteous ; verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth. 

2. From the confession and common consent of all nations, even 
those that have been most rude and barbarous, there is none without 
some worship. The pagan mariners, Jonah i. 5, were afraid, and 
cried every man unto his god. Those that were most estranged 
from human society, those that lived in the wilderness without law 
-and government, have been touched with a sense of a deity and god 
head ; which must arise from natural instinct. It cannot be any deceit, 
or imposition of fancy, by custom and tradition, falsehood usually 
not being so universal and long-lived. Men do what they can to blot 
out these notions and instincts of conscience. An invention so con 
trary to nature would have been long ere this worn out. 

3. From our own consciences, that appal the stoutest sinner after 
the commitment of any gross evil. The heathens, that had but a 
little light, feared death : Rom. i. 32, They, knowing the judgment of 
God, that they that do such things are worthy of death/ &c. ; and 
they had thoughts excusing and accusing one another, Rom. ii. 14, 
15. As letters written with, the juice of a lemon, hold them to the 
fire, they may be read. What terrors are in the hearts of wicked 
men after the commitment of sins against light, as incest, murder, 
promiscuous lusts, contemptuous speaking of God or his worship ! 
Though their sins were secret, hidden under a covert of darkness and 
secrecy, and not liable to any human cognisance, yet they still feared 
an avenging hand : their hearts have been upon them. Yea, atheists 
smitten with horror, what they deny in the day, they acknowledge in 
the darkness of the night, especially in distress. Diagoras, troubled 
with the strangury, acknowledged a deity. Or a little before death, 
their hearts are filled with trembling and horror. 

4. From several experiences. The power of the word : 1 Cor. xiv. 
25, Thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest ; and so falling 
down on his face, he will worship God, and report that God is in you 
of a truth. There is some God guideth these men. There are devils, 
and they would undo all were they not bound up with the chains and 
restraints of an irresistible providence. God suffereth them now and 
then to discover their malice, that we may see by whose goodness we 
do subsist. So there are virtues, which must be by some institution, 
or by comformity to a supreme being, or a sense of his law. They 
cannot be out of any eternal reason, which is in the things themselves, 
nor by the appointment of man s will ; for then everything which man 
willeth would be good. Many arguments might be brought to this 
purpose, but I am shortly to handle this argument elsewhere. 

By way of use. 

1. Let us charge it upon our hearts, that we may check those private 
whispers and suspicions which are there against the being and glory 
of God. Many times we are apt to think that God is but a fancy, 

YER. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 155 

religion a state curb, and the gospel but a quaint device to please 
fond and foolish men ; and all is but talk to hold men in awe. Oh ! 
consider, in such truths as these we do not appeal to scripture, but 
nature. You will never be able to recover your consciences out of this 
dread. The devils are under the fear of a deity : James ii. 19, Thou 
believest that there is one God, thou doest well ; the devils also believe 
and tremble/ The devil can never be a flat atheist, because of the 
fear of the wrath of God tormenting him ; he is not an atheist, because 
he cannot be one, it cannot stand with the state of a damned angel ; 
there may be atheists in the church, but there are none in hell. 
Humble thyself for such atheistical thoughts and suggestions. It is 
a sin irrational ; all the creatures confute it : Ps. Ixxiii. 22, So foolish 
was I and ignorant, I was as a beast before thee ; when he had an ill 
thought of providence. When you go about to ungod God, you 
unman yourselves. Common sense and reason would teach you other 
wise. Thoughts and desires that strike at the being of God are 
thoughts of a dangerous importance. Oh ! what a foul heart have 
I, that casteth up such mire and dirt ! Wrath came upon the Jews to 
the uttermost for killing Christ in his human nature ; but these are 
thoughts that strike at God, and Christ, and all together. 

2. It reprove th those that wish down, or live down this principle. 
Some wish it down: Ps. xiv. 1, The fool hath said in his heart, There 
is no God. It is his desire rather than his thoughts. It is a pleasant 
thing for them to imagine that there is none to call them to an 
account. Guilty men would fain destroy the righteous God, which is 
an argument of the worst hatred. Some live it down : Titus i. 16, 
In works they deny him. It is the real language of their lives that 
there is no God. There is no greater temptation to atheism than the 
life of a scandalous professor. One surprised a Christian in an .act of 
filthiness, and cried out, Christiane ! Christiane ! ubi Deus tuns ? 
O Christian ! Christian ! where is thy God ? There are few atheists 
in opinion, more in affection, most in conversation of life. You live 
in deceit and cozenage, and yet profess to believe an omniscient God ; 
and your privy walkings are full of sin and excess. There is blas 
phemy in your lives : Kev. ii. 9, I know the blasphemy of them which 
say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Mr 
Greenham tells of one who was executed at Norwich for an atheist ; 
first he was a papist, then a protestant ; then he fell off from all reli 
gion, and turned atheist. How can you believe it is true that there is 
a God, when this truth hath so little power on the heart? 

3. It presseth you to lay this principle up with care. All Satan s 
malice is to bring you to a denial of this supreme truth ; it is good to 
discern his wiles. There are special seasons when you are most liable 
to atheism. When providence is adverse, prayers are not heard, and 
those that worship God are in the worst case ; the Lord doth not come 
in when we would have him. The devil worketh upon our stomach 
and discontent ; and when we are vexed that we have not our desires, 
we complain, as Israel, Exod. xvii. 7, Is the Lord among us or no? 
when they wanted water. But still our God is in the heavens, and 
doth whatsoever he pleaseth/ The saints in their expostulation still 
yield the principle : Ps. Ixxiii. 1, Truly God is good to Israel ; how- 


ever the state of things are, yet he is resolved to hold to principles. So 
Jer. xii. 1, he layeth it down as an undoubted maxim, Kighteous art 
thou, God. God is God still. So when we meet with oppression, 
men pervert judgment, others forswear themselves, our innocency doth 
not prevail, the devil abuseth the rage of passions in such a case. As 
Diagoras, a noted atheist among the heathens, became so upon this 
occasion : he saw a man deeply forswearing himself, and yet was not 
stricken with a thunderbolt. Consider, though this be a sure tempta 
tion, yet there is a God : Eccles, iii. 16, 17, I saw under the sun the 
place of judgment, that wickedness was there ; and the place of right 
eousness, that iniquity was there. What then ? I said in my heart, 
God shall judge the righteous and the wicked ; for there is a time for 
every purpose and for every work. God will have a time to judge 
this matter ere long. Still recover your supreme principle out of the 
hands of the temptation. So in times of general oppression, when the 
innocent party are left as a prey to their adversaries : Eccles. v. 8, 
When thou seest the violent perverting of judgment and justice in a 
province, marvel not at the matter ; for he that is higher than the 
highest regardeth, and there be higher than they. We may lose all 
outward supports, but not our God. Attamen vivit Christus, et 
regnat. So when second causes operate and accomplish their wonted 
effects according to their fixed and stated course, All things continue 
as they were, 2 Peter iii. 4, they think the world is governed by chance 
or nature ; so this proveth a snare. But you should see God at the 
other end of causes ; he can change them as he pleaseth. 


And this is life eternal, that they might ~know tliee the only true God, 
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. JOHN XVII. 3. 

DOCT. 2. The next proposition is, that this God is but one, Thee the 
only true God. Deut. vi. 4, Hear, Israel ; the Lord thy God is 
one Lord. The heathens multiplied gods according to their own fan 
cies : they had lords many and gods many. Austin in one of his 
epistles speaketh of one Maximius, a heathen, who excuseth the poly 
theism of the gentiles, that they worshipped but one supreme essence, 
though under divers names. Ejus quasi quondam membra variis 
supplicationibus prosequimur, ut totum colere valeamus that they 
had several deities, that they might, as by so many several parcels, 
adore the whole divine essence. The truth is, nature hath some sense 
of it ; for as it showeth there is a God, so it showeth there is but one 
God. Socrates was a martyr to this truth. The Platonics worshipped 
one supreme essence, whom they called 6 /Sao-iXei)?. The philoso 
phers sometimes called God TO 6V, that being ; sometimes TO ey, that 
one thing. Tertullian proveth that the soul was naturaliter chris- 
tiana, as he speaketh, testimonium animal naturaliter Christianas ; 
which he proveth from the forms of speech then in use. Deus videt, 
&c. what God shall award ; God seeth ; let God determine of me, 

VER. 3 j SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 157 

and for me. And in troubles they cried out, God ! and in straits 
they did not look to the Capitol, the imagined seat of such gods as the 
Homans worshipped, but to heaven, the seat of the living God. Thus 
it is with the soul, saith he, when recovered out of a distemper. The 
truth is, it was the dotage and darkness of their spirits to acknowledge 
many gods, as drunkards and madmen usually see things double, two 
suns for one. But besides the consent of nations, to give you reasons : 
There is a God, and therefore but one God ; there can be but one first 
cause, and one infinite, one best, one most perfect, one omnipotent. If 
one can do all things, what need more gods ? If both be omnipotent, 
we must conceive them as agreeing or disagreeing ; if disagreeing, all 
would be brought to nothing ; if agreeing, one is superfluous. God 
hath decided the controversy : Isa. xliv. 8, Is there a God besides 
me ? Yea, there is no God, I know not any/ As if he said, If any 
have cause to know, I have, but I know none. 

This point is useful, not only to exempt the soul from the anxious 
fear of a false deity, and to confute the Manichees, Marcion, Cerdo, 
and others, that held two sorts of gods, and those that parted the god 
head into three essences, and the pagan fry. But practically 

1. It checketh those that set up other gods besides him in their 
hearts. If there be but one God, why do we make more, and give 
divine honour to creatures ? A worldling maketh his money his god, 
and a sensualist his belly his god. Covetousness is called idolatry ; 
and Phil. iii. 19, Whose god is their belly/ How is covetousness 
idolatry ? and how can any make their belly their god ? Who ever 
was seen praying to his pence, or worshipping his own belly? I 
answer Though it be not done corporally and grossly, yet it is done 
spiritually. That which engrosseth our love, and confidence, and care, 
and choice, and delight, that is set up in the room and place of God ; 
and this is to give divine honour to a creature. Now this is in world 
lings and sensualists. For confidence, they trust in their riches for a 
supply, do not live on providence : 1 Tim. vi. 17, Charge them that 
are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in un 
certain riches, but in the living God; Prov. x. 15, A rich man s 
wealth is his strong city; he is provided of a defence against all the 
chances and strokes of providence. So for care ; a man devoteth his 
time to his god, and the sensualist sacrificeth his estate, his health, his 
soul to his own gullet, many sacrilegious morsels to his own throat ; 
every day he offereth a drink-offering, and meat-offering to appetite. 
O brethren ! take heed of gods of man s making. He is as much an 
idolater that preferreth his wealth to obedience, his pleasures before 
God s service, as he that falleth down to a stock. It would be sad if 
on your death-beds God should turn you back, as he did the Israelites 
in their distress : Judges x. 14, Go and cry to the gods whom ye 
have chosen ; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation/ 
Go to your wealth, to your pleasures. 

2. If God be but one, worship him with an entire heart. The story 
goeth, that the senate, hearing of the miracles in Judea, decreed divine 
worship to Christ ; but Tiberius the emperor crossed it, when he heard 
that he would be worshipped alone. God is but one ; our hearts should 
close with him as an all-sufficient portion : there is enough in one. The 


scripture speaks of believing with all the heart. Other comforts and 
confidences must be disclaimed. Sometimes carnal persons set their 
hearts upon other comforts ; Christ is not their whole delight : they 
would have Christ for their consciences, and the world for their hearts; 
Christ in an extremity, but their affections go out to other things. 
Sometimes they will have other confidences : they would trust Christ 
for their eternal salvation, to salve conscience; but the world engrosses 
their care, as if they were to shift for themselves in temporal things, 
and be masters of their own fortunes ; as it appeareth when temporal 
supplies fail ; when visible supplies are absent, then they despair. It 
is a mere mistake and folly to think it is easier to trust Christ for 
pardon of sins and eternal life, than for daily bread ; as Christ said, 
Mark ii. 9, Whether is easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee ; or 
to say, Arise, take up thy bed and walk ? The truth is, temporal 
wants are more pressing and urging than spiritual, and men are care 
less in the business of their souls. 

Doct. 3. The next proposition is, that this God is one in three per 
sons. This also is collected from the text. To know thee/ that is, 
the Father, with all the co-essential persons. They are undivided in 
essence, though distinguished in personality. Take a place of scrip 
ture : 1 John v. 7, There are three that bear record in heaven, the 
Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one/ 
Let me a little open the doctrine of the Trinity by some short obser 

This is a mystery proper to the scriptures. Other truths are revealed 
in nature, but this is a treasure peculiar to the church. There are some 
passages in heathens that seem to look this way ; as Plato speaketh of 
z/o>9, Xo709, 7rvev/^a, mind, word, and spirit ; and Trismegistus, irpwra 
debs, &c. But these were either some general notions, received by 
tradition from the Jews, and by them misunderstood, for they dreamed 
of three distinct separate essences, or else passages foisted into their 
writings by the fraud and fallacy of some Christians, who counted it a 
piece of their zeal to lie for God. It is not likely that God would 
give the heathens a more clear revelation of these mysteries than he 
did to his own people, the church of the Jews. We find it but spar 
ingly revealed in the Old Testament, though I might bring many 
places where it is sufficiently hinted ; but more distinctly in the New, 
after the visible and sensible discovery of the three persons at Christ s 
baptism : Mat. iii. 17, The Spirit of God descended like a dove, and 
lighted upon him, and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my 
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Voce Pater, Natus corpore, 
Numen ave. The whole Trinity were present at that solemnity.^ Some 
darkness there is still upon the face of this deep ; we shall have more 
perfect knowledge of it in the heavens : John xiv. 20, At that day ye 
shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you/ 
Trinity in unity and unity in trinity still troubleth the present weak 
ness of reason ; but when we shall see God face to face, our knowledge 
shall be more satisfactory and complete. For the present, we must 
come to this truth with a sober mind, and adore it with a humble 
piety, lest we puzzle faith while we would satisfy and inform reason. 
There are many words which the church hath used in the explication 

VER. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 159 

of this mystery, as unity, trinity, essence, person, consubstantial ; which 
though they be not all found in the scriptures, yet they are the best 
that we can use in so deep a matter, and serve to prevent the errors 
and mistakes of those who would either multiply the essence, or abolish 
the persons. Some terms must be used, and these are the safest. 
They be three, and yet one; and the most commodious way to solve it 
to our understandings is, one in essence and three persons ; for there 
being three in the divine essence, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, 
each having the whole divine essence, and yet the essence undivided, 
there must be some words to express the mystery. God, being one, 
cannot be divided in nature and being ; and there being three, every 
one having the whole godhead in himself, distinguished by peculiar 
relative properties, what term shall we use ? Three ways of existence 
there are in the nature of God, because of those three real relations 
paternity, filiation, and procession. One they are, and distinct they 
are really. There is and must be a distinction, for the essence and 
particular way of existence do differ. Whatever is said of the essence 
is true of every person. God is infinite, eternal, incomprehensible ; so 
is the Father, Son, and Spirit. But now, whatever is said of the 
existence, as existence, cannot be said of the essence ; every one that is 
God is not Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I say, then, there being a 
distinction between the nature and particular existences, there must be 
some terms to express it. The Greek Church in the Nicene Council, 
some three hundred and sixty years after Christ, worded it thus : The 
occasion was this, some heretics said, If Christ be God, of the same 
substance and being with the Father, then, when Christ was incarnate, 
the Father was incarnate also. No, say the orthodox, though the ovcrla, 
the substance or essence be the same, it is not the same viroaraai^, the 
same subsistence in the godhead ; and then began the public and received 
distinction of oiWa and vTroarraa-is: ovaia signifying the nature or 
substance ; viroa-racn^, the several manners of existence. And the 
determination of the church was, that these were the fittest terms to 
explicate this mystery. Not but that these words were used before in 
this matter ; as may appear out of divers authors that lived and wrote 
before that famous Nicene Council, but they were not so accurately 
distinguished, nor so publicly received. And indeed, though the word 
ovala, essence, be not in scripture, yet vTroaraai^ is. There is ground 
for ovaia, for when the nature of God is expressed, it is expressed by 
a word equivalent to essence, I Am that I Am/ Exod. iii. 14. So 
6 <bv, 6 rjv, real 6 epxopevos, He that was, and is, and is to come, Rev. 
i. 4. Then for inroaraai^, Christ is called, Heb. i. 3, %apaKTr)p rrjs 
uTToo-Tao-eo)? avrov, The express image of his person. It cannot be 
rendered essence, but subsistence ; for then Arius would have carried 
the day, and Christ would be only opoiovcrios. And the Father s 
essence cannot properly be said to be impressed on the Son, since the 
very same individual essence and substance was wholly in him, as 
it was wholly in the Father ; and the Son cannot be said to be like : 
but now the express image of his subsistence ; or, as we now render 
it, person, doth provide for the consubstantiality of the Son ; against 
Arius ; and for the distinction of the subsistences, against Sabellius. 
Thus for a Ion ^ time it was carried in the terms of substance and sub- 


sistence. But bow came the word person in use? I answer The 
Latin Church expressed it by person/ upon these grounds : partly 
because they would have a word in their own language that might 
serve for common and vulgar use, and the right apprehension of this 
mystery ; partly because v-jroaraa^ and subsistence were ambiguous, 
and of a doubtful signification, being both often in common accepta 
tion put for the same thing ; and the Latin fathers, timidius usi sunt 
eo vocabulo, were shy in using that word ; partly because this word is 
very commodious, as being proper to particular, distinct, rational sub 
stances. Whatever is a person must be a substance, not an attribute 
or accident, as white or black ; a particular substance, not a general 
essence or nature. It must be living ; we do not call a book or a 
board a person. It must be rational ; we do not call a tree or a beast 
a person, though they have life ; but only man. And it must not be a 
part of a man, as the soul ; it must not be that which is sustained in 
another, but subsisteth of itself. So the humanity of Christ is not 
a person, because it hath no subsistence in itself, but is sustained by 
the godhead. Now a person in the godhead is an incommunicable 
subsistence in the divine essence, or the divine essence or nature 
distinguished by its incommunicable property ; or more plainly, a 
diverse and distinct subsistence in the godhead. And the word is not 
to be taken in the extreme rigour, to infer any separation or division 
in the godhead. Three persons among men make three separate 
essences, three men ; but not here three Gods ; for in the godhead the 
persons are not separate and divided, but only distinguished by their 
relative properties ; they are co-eternal, infinite, and may be in one 
another, the Father in the Son, the Son in the Father, both in the 
Spirit. We are material, and though we communicate in the same 
nature, yet we live separate. In short, the word person is used to 
show that they are not only three acts, offices, attributes, properties, 
qualities, operations, but distinct subsistences, distinguished from one 
another by their unchangeable order of first, second, and third 
Father, Word, and Spirit and their incommunicable properties of 
paternity, filiation, and procession, or unbegotten, begotten, and pro 
ceeding, and by their special and personal manner of operation, creat 
ing, redeeming, sanctifying. Creation is by the Father, redemption by 
the Son, sanctification by the Spirit. More may be said, but when 
shall we make an end ? 

Let us apply it. 

Use. Let us bless God that we have such a complete object for our 
faith. We can want nothing that have Father, Son, and Spirit, the 
co-operation of all the persons for our salvation ; that we can consider 
the Father in heaven, the Son on the cross, and feel the Spirit in our 
hearts ; yea, that the whole Godhead should take up its abode, and 
come and converse with us : 2 Cor. xiii. 14, The grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, 
be with you all. Amen. Oh ! what a treble privilege is this ! Grace, 
love, and communion ; election, merit, and actual grace. This is a 
mystery, felt as well as believed. We have a God to love us, a Christ 
to redeem us, and a Spirit to apply all to the soul : 1 Peter ii. 3, If 
so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. Our spiritual estate 

VER. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 161 

standeth upon a sure bottom ; the beginning is from God the Father, 
the dispensation from the Son, and the application from the Holy 
Ghost. The Father s electing love is engaged by the merit of Christ, 
and conveyed by the power of the Holy Ghost. There was a purpose 
by the Father, the accomplishment was by the Son, and exhibition is 
by the Spirit ; it is free in the Father, sure in the Son, ours in the 
Spirit ; the Father purposeth, the Son ratifieth, the Spirit giveth us 
the enjoyment of all. Oh ! let us adore the mysterious Trinity ; we 
are not thankful enough for this glorious discovery. 

Doct. 4. That God, who is one in three persons, is the only true 
God, <re rbv a\T]6Lvov deov, Thee the only true God; 1 Thes. i. 9, 
Ye turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God. All 
others are but idols and false gods ; they are not able to avenge the 
contempt of them that wrong them, or to save those that trust in 
them : Gal. iv. 8, Then when ye knew not God, ye did service to 
them that by nature were no gods. An idol is nothing but what it is 
in the valuation and esteem of men. Oh ! then, let us not look upon 
religion as a mere fancy. God is, whether we acknowledge him or no. 
Usually, in great turns and changes, many turn atheists. Some turn 
short from gross idolatry to rest in superstition ; others turn over, and 
lay aside religion itself, as if all were fancy and figment. Oh ! con 
sider, a God there is ; who else made the world ? And then, who is 
a god like unto the Lord our God? Go, search abroad among the 
nations. It is some advantage sometimes to consider what a God we 
serve, above the gods of the Gentiles. God alloweth you the search 
for settlement and satisfaction: Jer. vi. 16, Thus saith the Lord, 
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the 
good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. If 
you will make a serious comparison, see where you can anchor safer 
than in Christianity. Where can you have more comfortable repre 
sentations of God than in the Christian religion? And where can 
you have a purer representation of the Christian religion than in the 
churches of the Protestants ? All else is as unstable as water. Here 
God is represented as holy, yet gracious ; and here you may meet with 
a strict rule of duty, and yet best for your choice. Let it confirm you 
in your choice ; and bless God for the advantages of your birth and 
education. If you had been born among heathens, you had been 
liable to their darkness : The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing 
the heart, Ps. xix. 10. 

Secondly, Now we come to speak to the second head of Christian 
doctrine, what is to be known concerning Jesus Christ ? I shall not 
wander and digress from the circumstances of the text. 

Here are three things offered to our consideration : (1.) That he 
is sent ; (2.) That he is Jesus, or a saviour ; (3.) That he is Christ, 
or an anointed saviour. 

First, That he is sent. I in part opened this in the explication ; 
now I shall open it more fully. It implieth 

1. Christ s divine original ; he was a person truly existing before 
he came into the world, as a man must be before he is sent ; he 
came forth from God : Gal. iv. 4, When the fulness of time was 
come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law ; 

VOL. x. L 


, the word is a double compound, sent forth from God. 
Jesus Christ was in the Godhead; to note his intimacy and familiarity 
with God, he is said to be ev Ko\7rq> Trarpbs, John i. 18, The only- 
begotten Son of God, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath 
declared him. He is not only legatus a latere, from the side of God, 
but from the bosom of God ; so equals and dear friends are admitted 
into the bosom. Therefore he is said c to come forth from God, John 
xvi. 30. Not only to note the authority of his message, but the quality 
of his person, he came from out of the Godhead. No inferior mediator 
could serve the turn ; such an errand required a God himself : nothing 
but an infinite good could remedy an infinite evil. Sin had bound us 
over to an eternal judgment, and nothing could counterpoise eternity 
but the infiniteness and excellency of Christ s person. He that came 
on such an errand must needs be God, both to satisfy God and to 
satisfy us. God could not be satisfied unless his sufferings had re 
ceived a value from his person. To satisfy God offended there must 
be a God satisfying for the offence ; therefore his blood is called the 
blood of God ; Acts xx. 28, Feed the church of God, which he hath 
.purchased with his own blood. The satisfaction must carry proportion 
with the merit of the offence. A debt of a thousand pounds is not 
discharged by two or three brass farthings. Creatures are finite, their 
acts are due, and their sufferings for one another, if they had been 
allowed, would have been of a limited influence. Merit is above the 
creature ; no act of ours can lay an engagement upon God : 1 Sam. 
ii. 25, If a man sin against another, the judge shall judge him ; but 
if he sin against God, who shall entreat for him? The judge may 
accord a difference between man and man, and one man may make 
satisfaction to another ; but to take up matters between us and God, a 
person must be sent out of the Godhead itself. So to satisfy us ; he 
had need be able to grapple with divine wrath that would undertake 
our cause ; he was not only to undergo it, but to overcome it. The 
creature would never have been satisfied if he had perished in the 
work ; if our surety were kept in prison, and held under wrath and 
death, we should have had no assurance that the debt was paid: Acts 
xvii. 31, Whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath 
raised him from the dead. Christ s resurrection is our acquittance 
and discharge : John xvi. 10, Of righteousness, because I go to my 
Father, and ye see me no more. Well, then, we see the reasons why 
a person of the Godhead is employed in this work. You need not 
doubt but that it is accomplished to the full, since it is in the hands 
of such an able surety. Besides, it showeth the greatness of our sin 
and misery, that a person of the Godhead must be sent to rescue us. 
Sin fetched the Son of God from heaven, and if we subdue it not, it 
will sink us into hell. 

2. It implieth his distinct subsistence, that Christ is a distinct per 
son from the Father ; for he that sendeth and he that is sent are dis 
tinguished. Mark, I say, it implieth distinction, but not inferiority, 
against the Arians. Persons equal by mutual consent may send one 
another, as we see among men ; and Christ was equal with God : 
Phil. ii. 6, Who being in the form of God, thought it no robbery to 
be equal with God; he might take that honour upon him without 

VEK. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 163 

usurpation. Now this sending is ascribed to the Father; as John 
x. 36, Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into 
the world, &c., and in other places. Partly because the Father in those 
places is not taken personally, but essentially ; for the decree of the 
Father is the decree of the Son and Spirit ; they are one in essence, 
and one in will, their actions are undivided. Partly because this pecu 
liar personal operation is especially ascribed to the first person. The 
Father is said to send, and the Holy Ghost to qualify and fit him. It 
is ascribed to the Father, he sent the Spirit to accomplish it ; to God 
the Son, who took human nature, and united it to his own godhead ; 
to the Spirit of God, who formed, and sanctified, and furnished it with 
gifts without measure. In the economy of salvation, the original 
authority is made to reside in God the Father. So that here is a sen 
sible argument to confirm the doctrine of the Trinity. Christ was 
sent, one of the persons took flesh by order and appointment of the 
whole Godhead. The distinction of the persons is by this discovered : 
Heb. i. 5, 6, For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou 
art my Son, this day have I begotten thee ? And again, I will be to 
him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son ? And again, when he 
bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the 
angels of God worship him/ 

3. It implieth the incarnation of Christ : Sent into the world, 
John x. 36. So Gal. iv. 4, God sent forth his own Son, made of a 
woman. Christ s sending doth not imply change of place, but assump 
tion of another nature. Now this was necessary, otherwise Christ 
neither ought to nor could suffer. Justice required that the same 
nature that sinned should be punished. If he had not been made of 
a woman he could not be under the law, the duty, or the penalty of it : 
Gal. iv. 4, He was made of a woman, made under the law. Our sin 
was not to be punished in angels, or in any other creature that had not 
sinned, nor in man made out of nothing, or out of a piece of earth, or 
out of the dust, as Adam. God might have made Christ true man 
out of that matter, but he was made of a woman, one that was of our 
blood, of the same nature and essence with them that sinned. Our 
Saviour was not to be a sinner, but partaker of the same nature with 
them that sinned. 

4. It implieth the quality of Christ s office ; he is the messenger of 
heaven, and therefore called the angel of the covenant/ Mai. iii. 1. 
He is sent by God after lost sinners. He is called the apostle and 
high priest of our profession, Heb. iii. 1. God sendeth out a messenger 
to bring sinners to himself, as wisdom sent out her maids ; but Christ 
is the chief messenger and apostle. And mark, he is called there not 
only the apostle but high priest ; partly to show that in all ages of the 
church Christ is the chief officer, therefore the highest calling, both in 
the Jewish and Christian church is ascribed to him ; but chiefly to 
show that Christ, as he is the ambassador to treat with us from God, 
so the high priest to treat with God and appease his wrath for us. 
Christ is the messenger that goeth from party to party ; if he had not 
been sent to us we should neither know God nor enjoy him ; he came 
from God to men that he might bring men to God. There was no 
knowing of the Father without him : Mat. xi. 27, No man knoweth 


the Son but the Father ; neither knoweth any man the Father save 
the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal him. There is no 
coming to the Father without him : John xiv. 6, I am the way, the 
truth, and the life ; no man cometh to the Father but by me. He 
came from heaven on purpose to show us the way and to remove all 
obstacles. This is Christ s office. 

5. It implieth the authority of his office. Jesus Christ had a law 
ful call. He was designed in the council of the Trinity ; his holiness, 
miracles, and divine power are his commission : Him hath God the 
Father sealed, John vi. 27; as every ambassador hath letters of 
credence under the hand and seal of him from whom he is sent. Christ 
is the plenipotentiary of heaven ; he hath his commission under the 
seal of heaven ; all is valid that he doth in the Father s name ; he 
hath authorised the Kedeemer. Which is not only for the comfort of 
our faith ; Christ entered upon his calling by authority, which I shall 
improve by and by ; but for moral instruction, to look to our mission : 
Christ came not till he was sent. It is not good to cast ourselves upon 
offices and places without a lawful call and designation of God. In 
ordinary functions, education and abilities are call enough, and there 
we must keep. It is a tempting of providence to think God will bless 
us out of our way. A desire of change usually proceedeth from dis 
dain, or distrust, or a thirst of gain, all which are sinful. But now, 
in higher callings, there must be a solemn mission : Eom. x. 15, How 
shall they preach except they be sent ? They must be authorised by 
God, the rules he hath left in the church. Our Lord Jesus Christ 
did not glorify himself by intrusion ; he had a patent from the council 
of the Trinity, indited by the Father, accepted by himself, and sealed 
by the Holy Ghost. 

Use. It showeth three things : 

1. The love of God. Here are many circumstances to heighten it 
in your thoughts ; that he would not trust an angel with your salva 
tion, but send his Son; he is to come in person: 1 John iv. 10, 
Herein is love ; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and 
sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins/ He thought nothing 
too near and too dear for us. Usually man s love descendeth, and all 
his happiness is laid up in his children. Again, God had no reasons ; 
he was moved by his own goodness ; he had reasons to the contrary. 
AVe were enemies, but he sent his Son for enemies : Horn. v. 10, If 
when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his 
Son, &c. What was his Son sent for ? Not to treat with us in 
majesty, but to take our nature, to be substituted into our room and 
place. Oh ! praise the Father : Eph. i. 3, Blessed be the God and 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiri 
tual blessings in heavenly places in Christ ; 2 Cor. i. 3, Blessed be 
God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, 
and the God of all comfort. 

2. Christ s condescension. He submitteth to be sent : Ps. xl. 7, 8, 
Lo, I come ; in the volume of the book it is written of me. I delight 
to do thy will, my God ; yea, thy law is within my heart. We 
could never have asked so much as God hath given. He would not 
only borrow our tongue to speak to us, but our bowels to mourn for 

VER. 3.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 165 

us, and our bodies to die for us. He layeth aside his majesty, and 
taketh on himself the condition of a servant. It is irksome to us to go 
back ten degrees in pomp or pleasure upon just and convenient reasons. 
Oh ! the wonderful self-denial of Christ ! He laid aside the majesty 
of God, and submitted to the greatest abasement and suffering. 

3. The value of souls and spiritual privileges. If we despise them, 
we put an affront upon the wisdom of heaven, and undervalue Christ s 
purchase. Freedom from sin, justification, holiness, they are the only 
things. Christ was sent from heaven to purchase them. Gold and 
silver would not buy them ; money is not current in heaven, though it 
doth all things in the world : 1 Peter i. 18, We are not redeemed 
with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from our vain conversa 
tions, but with the precious blood of the Son of God, as of a lamb with 
out spot and blemish. Christ must come from heaven, and take a 
body, and shed his blood. Scourge your hearts with that question, 
Heb. ii. 3, How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ? 
Sure we should be more serious, and think that worthy of our best 
endeavours and greatest earnestness which Christ thought worthy a 
journey from heaven, and all the pains and shame he suffered. 

Secondly, The next thing in the text is that he is Jesus : Mat. i. 21, 
Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their 
sins. It is there interpreted to signify a saviour ; an angel himself is 
the expositor. So here Christ is sent to be a saviour ; that is a prin 
cipal object of faith, to look upon Christ as the Saviour of the world. 
A saviour properly is one that delivereth from evil. Now Christ doth 
not only deliver us from evil, from sin, the wrath of God, the accu 
sations of the law, and eternal death, but positively he giveth us grace 
and righteousness and eternal life. He is a saviour to defend us, and 
a saviour to bless us : Ps. Ixxxiv. 11, The Lord God is a sun and a 
shield ; he will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he with 
hold from them that walk uprightly. The mercies of the covenant 
are privative and positive. Many enter into a league that they will 
not hurt one another ; but God is in covenant with us to bless us. 
If Christ had only procured some place for us, unacquainted with 
pain or pleasure, it had been much ; but we have not only a ransom, 
but an inheritance ; instead of horrors and bowlings, everlasting joys. 
Again, many are called saviours either because of their subordinate 
subserviency to Christ, instruments in inward and outward salvation ; 
but these saviours needed a saviour. Christ is the true Jesus, who 
saveth as an author of grace, not as an instrument and means of con 
veyance. Now Christ is a saviour partly by merit, partly by efficacy 
and power ; he doth something for us and something in us : for us, he 
prevaileth by the merit of his death ; in us, by the efficacy of his 
Spirit ; all his work is not done on the cross. Both are necessary, 
partly in regard of the difference of the enemies ; God and the law are 
in a distinct rank from sin and death, Satan and the world. God was 
an enemy ; he cannot be overcome, but must be reconciled ; the law 
an enemy that could not be disannulled, but must be satisfied. Sin, 
the world, and Satan assault us out of malice, they make themselves 
our enemies ; the law and God are made enemies out of our rebellion ; 
therefore Christ must satisfy as well as overcome. To reconcile God, 


he shed his blood on the cross. Justice must have a sacrifice and the 
law satisfaction ; the curses of the law are not to fall to the ground ; 
somebody must be made a curse to keep up the authority of the law ; 
the law was an innocent enemy, and therefore not to be relaxed or 
repealed. Partly in regard of the different fight of the other enemies, 
that are enemies out of malice. Satan is not only a tempter but an 
accuser. As a tempter, so Christ was to overcome him by his power ; 
as an accuser, by his merit. When Satan condernneth, Christ is to 
intercede and represent his own merit ; the plaster must be as broad 
as the sore ; so tar as Satan is an enemy, so far must Christ be a 
saviour and redeemer, by his power against the temptations, by his 
merit against the accusations of Satan. As the devil is an accuser, 
Christ is an advocate. Partly because Satan hath a double power over 
a sinner legal and usurped. Legal, as God s executioner, by the 
ordination of God s justice : Heb. ii. 14, That through death he 
might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. 
Christ is to die to put Satan out of office usurped, as the god of this 
world. God made him an executioner, we a prince : John xii. 31, 
Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. Christ rescueth 
prisoners : Isa. xlix. 9, That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go 
forth. He will rescue and recover the elect when by their own default 
they put themselves in Satan s hands. Partly for our comfort. By 
his own obedience and merit Christ giveth us a right and title, but 
by his efficacy and power he giveth us possession. He is to buy our 
peace, grace, comfort, and then to see that we are possessed of it. 

Well, then, own him as Jesus, as the only Saviour. Acts iv. 17, 
the apostles were charged not to preach any more in the name of 
Jesus. Rest upon his merit, and wait for his power. 

1. Eest upon his merit. Troubled consciences, that think* to help 
themselves by their own care and resolution, are like men that are like 
to perish in the waters, and when a boat is sent out to help them, think 
to swim to shore by their own strength. You would be a saviour to 
yourselves, your own Jesus, and your own Christ. God is very jealous 
of the creature s trust ; and Christ saith, Isa. xlv. 5, I am the Lord, 
and there is none else ; there is no saviour besides me. You would 
purchase your peace, conquer your own enemies, and then come to 
Christ. No money of yours is current in heaven ; the jewels of the 
covenant are not sold for any price but Christ s blood and Christ s 
obedience. God saith, Isa. Iv. 1, He that hath no money, let him 
come and buy wine and milk, without money and without price. He 
sold to Christ, but he giveth to you ; he asketh nothing of you but 
acceptance. Will you take it ? They that refuse Christ and refuse 
comfort till they be holy in themselves, they have a show of humility, 
they would wear their own garments, spend their own money ; but the 
spirit is never more proud than when under a legal dejection ; we 
scorn to put on Christ s robes, and are better contented with our own 
spotted garments ; as in outward things we prefer a russet coat of our 
own before a velvet coat of another s. This is peevish pride. 

2. Wait for his power and efficacy in the use of means. It is be 
stowed on us by virtue of his intercession : We are saved by his life, 
Rom. v. 10 ; If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by 


the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved 
by his life. We are reconciled by his merit, but saved by his life. 
He liveth in heaven, and procureth influences of his grace : There 
fore he is (said to be) able to save to the uttermost all that come 
unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for 
us, Heb. vii. 25. In heaven he accomplisheth the other part of his 
priesthood. He doth not work out a part of man s salvation, and leave 
the rest to our free will : the sacrificing part is ended, and by his in 
tercession we get the merit applied to us. But we must not be idle, 
we must come with supplications, and present the case to Christ, that 
Christ may present it to God. Our groans must answer to the earnest 
ness of his intercession, and then we shall receive supplies. The word 
is called, The power of God to salvation, Kom. i. 16. Those that 
conscionably use prayer, and wait for Christ in the word, will find him 
to be a saviour indeed. The word is the effectual means to save men, 
how foolish and despicable soever it seem in the world. God would 
work with us rationally. We cannot expect a brutish bent, &c. 

Thirdly, The next thing is that he is Christ, an anointed saviour. 
This fitly followeth the former. Jesus signifies his divinity, and Christ 
his humanity. We are not only to know his person, but his ofiice : 
John i. 41, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, 
the Christ/ or anointed. This is often expressed in scripture : Ps. 
xlv. 8, He is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows ; 
Isa. Ixi. 1, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath 
anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek. So Acts iv. 27, 
Against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, 
and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were 
gathered together/ So Acts x. 38, How God anointed Jesus of 
Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power/ Out of all which 
places we see that Christ s anointing is not to be understood property, 
but by a trope ; the sign is put for the thing signified. 

1. Who was anointed ? Among the Gentiles, the wrestlers were 
anointed. Which may be applied to Christ, who was now to wrestle 
and conflict with all the prejudices and difficulties of man s salvation. 
But it is rather taken from the customs of the ceremonial law. Three 
sorts of persons we find to be anointed among the Jews : Kings ; as 
Saul, David, Solomon : 1 Sam. ix. 16, Thou shalt anoint him to be 
captain over my people Israel/ Therefore they were called, the 
Lord s anointed/ 1 Sam. xxvi. 11. Priests ; all the priests that mini 
stered in the tabernacle or temple, chiefly the high priest, who was a 
special figure of Christ : Exod. xxix. 29, And the holy garments of 
Aaron shall be his sons after him, to, be anointed therein, and to be 
consecrated in them/ Prophets: 1 Kings xix. 16, Elisha the son of 
Shaphat shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room/ As oil 
strengtheneth and suppleth the joints, and maketh them agile and fit 
for exercise, so it noteth a designation and fitness for the functions to 
which they were appointed. So Christ, because he was not to be a 
typical priest, or prophet, or king, therefore he was not typically but 
spiritually anointed ; not with a sacramental, but real unction ; not of 
men, but of God immediately. Therefore we shall inquire how Christ 
was anointed. It implieth two things : 


[1.] The giving of power and authority : Heb. v. 5, Christ glorified 
not himself to be made an high priest ; but he that said unto him, 
Thou art my Son ; this day have I begotten thee. Therefore though 
Christ be of the same power and authority with the Father, yet as 
mediator he must be appointed. Christ took not on him the honour 
of a mediator, but received it of his Father. God needeth not to 
appoint a mediator ; it was his free grace. To save sinnners is not 
proprietas divines naturce, but opus liberi consilii. This counsel had 
its rise from the mercy and free grace of the Father ; he might have 
required this punishment of ourselves. If any had interposed to mediate 
for us without God s will and calling, his mediation would have been 
of no value ; a pledge whereof we have in Moses : Exod. xxxii. 32, 33, 
* Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sins ; and if not, blot me, I pray 
thee, out of the book of life. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whoso 
ever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. And 
besides, where should we have found a sufficient mediator, unless he 
should have given us one ? Therefore there is much in the Father s 
anointing or appointment ; therefore is the mediation of Christ so 
effectual ; it is made by his own will : John viii. 42, I proceeded 
forth, and came from God ; neither came I of myself, but he sent me ; 
John vi. 27, Him hath God the Father sealed ; as a magistrate hath 
the king s broad seal. Which is a great comfort ; when we go to God, 
we may offer him Christ, as authorised by himself: Thou hast sent 
thy own Son to be a mediator for me. And we may plead it to our 
selves in faith : God the supreme judge, the wronged party, hath 
appointed Christ to take up the controversy between him and me. 

[2.] The bestowing on him the Holy Ghost, who might make the 
human nature fit for the work. So Acts x. 38, Him hath God 
anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power. The human nature 
of Christ was fitted for the employment ; for though it were exalted to 
great privileges, yet it could not act beyond its sphere ; and sanctifi- 
cation is the personal operation of the third person. Now the work of 
the Holy Ghost was in the womb of the virgin, to preserve the human 
nature of Christ from the infection of sin. From a sinner nothing 
could be born but what was unclean and sinful ; by this anointing 
Christ was made perfectly just, strengthened to all offices, especially to 
offer up himself : Heb. ix. 14, Who through the eternal Spirit offered 
himself without spot to God/ To overcome all difficulties and tempta 
tions : Isa. xlii. 1. Behold my servant whom I uphold, my elect in 
whom my soul delighteth ; I have put my Spirit upon him. The work 
of redemption was a weighty work: Christ had to do with God, devil, 
and man, to bear the wrath of God for the whole world. 

2. To what was Christ anointed ? To the office of a mediator in 
general ; particularly to be king, priest, and prophet of the church. 
To be a prophet, to teach us by his word and Spirit : Mat. xvii. 5, 
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased ; hear ye him. 
God bespeaketh audience. To be a priest, to intercede and die for us, 
To be a king, to rule us by his Spirit, and to give grace and glory 
to us. 

Use 1. Let us receive Christ as an anointed saviour. Christ is set 
over us by authority ; let us come to him as a prophet, denying our 

VER. 4.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 169 

own reason and wisdom ; as a priest, seeking all our acceptance with 
God through his merit. Let us plead, Lord, thou hast anointed Christ 
to offer himself a sacrifice for me. As a king, let us give up ourselves 
to the authority and discipline of his Spirit. God s anointing is the 
true reason and cause why we should come to Christ. 

Use 2. Comfort ; we are anointed too. Christ s ointment is shared 
amongst his fellows ; he was anointed more than we, but we have our 
part : Ps. cxxxiii. 2, Like the precious ointment upon the head, that 
ran down upon the beard, even Aaron s beard, that went down to the 
skirts of his garment ; 1 John ii. 27, The anointing which ye have 
received of him abideth in you. We are made prophets, priests, and 
kings ; prophets meet to declare his praises, priests fit for holy minis 
tering, kings to reign over our corruptions here, and with Christ for 
ever in glory, as the queen is crowned with the king. 


I have glorified thee on ike earth : I have finished the work lohich 
thou gavest me to do. JOHN XVII. 4. 

IN this verse there is another argument to inforce the main request of 
his being glorified ; it is taken from the faithful discharge of his duty, and 
his integrity in it ; it was all finished, and finished to God s glory ; there 
fore it was not unjust that he should now desire to be glorified. When 
our work is ended, then we look to receive our wages. Now, saith Christ, 
I have finished the work ; and besides (which giveth weight to the 
argument), I have glorified thee. The reason of Christ s request 
seems to be taken from the eternal covenant. Do your work, and you 
shall see your seed ; and from those promises, 1 Sam. ii. 30, Them 
that honour me, I will honour ; Prov. iv. 8, Exalt her, and she shall 
promote thee ; she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace 
her. Well, Christ showeth that his request is not unequal. Though 
this be the general relation of the context, yet it is good to note the 
particular dependence between this and the former verse. Christ said 
that it was eternal life to know him that was sent ; now he showeth he 
had discharged that work for which he was sent. 

From Christ s suing for glory upon this argument, I might note, 
that we may plead promises. God saith, Put me in remembrance. 
There is difference between a plea and a challenge ; hypocrites challenge 
God upon the merit of their works ; believers humbly urge him with 
his own promises. Not as if God did need excitement to make good 
his word ; but we need grounds of hope and confidence. 

Again, because Christ asketh nothing but what God will give, I 
might observe, that when we have done our work we may expect our 
portion of glory. But I rather come to the particular discussion of 
the words. 

The words may be considered in a mediatory or in a moral sense. 
In a mediatory sense : so they are proper to Christ ; he prayed to the 
Father, That thy Son may glorify thee, ver. 1. Now he saith, * I 


have glorified thee ; meaning, in the days of his flesh. By a moral 
accommodation they may be applied to every Christian ; every Christian 
should say, as Christ, I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished 
the work which thou gavest me to do. 

First, and which is most proper, let us consider them in the mystical 
and mediatory sense. The first phrase is : 

1 1 have glorified thee. Christ glorified God many ways ; by his 
person, as being the express image of his Father s glory/ Heb. i. 3. 
By his life and perfect obedience : John viii. 46, Which of you con- 
vinceth me of sin ? ; and ver. 49, I have not a devil, but I honour 
my Father. By discovering his mercy : John i. 14, We beheld his 
glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and 
truth. By his miracles ; when the sick of the palsy was cured, it is 
said, The multitude glorified God, Mat. ix. 8 ; Mark xv. 31 ; at other 
miracles, They glorified the God of Israel/ Mark ii. 12. So his 
passion exceedingly glorified God s justice. In his doctrine, by dis 
covering his glorious essence, and the purity of his worship. The 
system of divinity was much perfected and advanced by the coming of 

Doct. That God was much glorified in Christ. God was much 
glorified in the creation of the world : Ps. xix. 1, The heavens declare 
the glory of the Lord, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. The 
fabric of the whole world, especially of the heavens, declares his good 
ness, wisdom, and power. His goodness in communicating being to 
all creatures, life and motion to some ; his wisdom, in making the 
creatures so various, and so excellent in their general kinds ; his power, 
in educing all things out of the womb of mother nothing. God was 
glorified in his providences, especially in the great deliverances of the 
church from Egypt, and from the north ; but mostly in Christ, re 
demption being the most noble work with which he was ever acquainted. 
It is notable that the Spirit of God in scripture often varieth the 
expression ; at first it was, Blessed be God, that made heaven and 
earth ; then, I am the God that brought thee out of the land of 
Egypt; then it is, Jer. xvi. 14, 15, It shall no more be said, The 
Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of 
Egypt ; but the Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel 
from the land of the north ; then it is, Blessed be the God and 
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ/ Eph. i. 3. In creation, the wisdom, 
goodness, and power of God appeared ; there was no need of other 
attributes. In providence, the j ustice, mercy, and truth of God appears ; 
but these in Christ in a more raised degree. In creation, the object 
was pure nothing ; as there was no help, so no hindrance ; but now in 
redemption, sin hinders ; so that here is shown not only goodness, but 
mercy. In creation we deserve nothing ; now we deserve the contrary. 
There was more wisdom seen in our redemption. The quarrel taken 
up between justice and mercy. Mercy would pity, and justice could 
not spare. In redemption there is more power ; in creation, man is 
taken out of the earth; in redemption, out of hell. God s justice 
opposed redemption. Christ must be sent to satisfy justice, and the 
Spirit sent to take away unbelief. God made all with a word, he saved. 
all with a plot of grace. In creation, man was made like God ; in 

YER. 4.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 171 

redemption, God is made like man. No deliverance like this ; Babylon 
was nothing to hell, and the brick-kilns of Egypt to the lake that 
burneth with fire and brimstone. When God delivered his people 
out of Babylon, he had to do with creatures ; when he delivered 
them from the wrath to come, he had to do with himself. Justice 
put in high demands against the compassions of mercy ; his own Son 
must die with the wrath of God, and his own Spirit must be grieved 
in wrestling with the denials of men. Instead of our own obedience, 
we have the merit of Christ. Oh ! here are depths of mystery and 

Use, God loseth no honour by Christ. God hath more glory, and 
we have larger demesnes of comfort and grace to live upon. All 
parties are satisfied ; we have a better portion ; Adam had paradise, 
we have heaven ; God hath more glory ; the creatures are more 
acquainted with the infiniteness of mercy, power, and wisdom. 
Innocence continued had been a great benefit, but now it is more 
gracious and free ; and it is not the greatness of a benefit that worketh 
on gratitude so much as the graciousness and freeness of it. Our 
heaven costeth a greater price, and it is not given to God s friends, but 
those that were once his enemies. 

On earth. This phrase signifieth that Christ did not increase 
God s essential glory, for that is incapable of any addition ; his nature 
is infinite, and cannot be made more glorious and excellent ; but only 
that Christ manifested his glory more fully to the world. 

Observe, Christ came down from heaven to make men glorify God. 
We had lesson enough before us in creation and providence, but men 
were stupid. Things to which we are accustomed do not work upon 
us ; in the gospel, God would set his praise to a new tune. God 
needeth us not, and our respects are due ; and yet at what cost is God 
to purchase the praise of the creature ! Blind and unthankful men, 
to dethrone the great God, and set up every paltry creature ! There 
fore God sent his Son to revive the notions of the Godhead, and to give 
us further manifestations of his glory. That was Christ s errand, to 
glorify him on the earth. 

I have finished the work. Christ s work was to manifest the gos 
pel, and to redeem sinners ; and how can he say, I have finished the 
work ; seeing the chief work of redemption was yet to come, the 
offering up himself to divine justice upon the cros? I answer He 
had determined to undergo death, and it was now at hand ; in the con 
sent and full determination of his will it was done. So upon the 
cross, just before his death, he crieth, It is finished, John xix. 30. 
It implieth 

1. The submission, faithfulness, and diligence of Christ ; he never 
left doing of his Father s work till he had brought it to some issue and 
period, and doth not sue out his own glory till our redemption was 
first finished : Phil. ii. 7, He became obedient unto death, even the 
death of the cross/ the accursed death of the cross. Christ carried 
sinners in his heart to his dying day ; he never repented of his bar 
gain : John xiii. 1, Having loved his own that were in the world, he 
loved them unto the end. When he had most cause to loathe sinners, 
then he loved them ; in his bitter agonies, and the horrors of his cross, 


Christ did not repent of his part. Plead the eternal covenant ; you 
have God s oath that he will never repent of salvation this way : Ps. 
ex. 4, The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent : thou art a priest for 
ever, after the order of Melchisedeck. Christ was not weary of suffer 
ing for sinners, and God will not be weary of pardoning them. Again, 
Christ was faithful in the days of his flesh ; he hath lost nothing by 
going to heaven ; he will finish what he hath begun : 1 Thes. v. 24, 
Faithful is he that hath called you, who also will do it. This smok 
ing flax will be blown up into a flame. These infant desires are buds 
of glory ; this decay of sin will come to an utter extinction. 

2. It noteth the completeness of our redemption : All is finished. 
When he had set all things at rights, then he departed. Christ hath 
not left the work imperfect, to be supplied by the merit of our own 
actions ; we are not half purchased : Heb. x. 14, By one offering he 
hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Christ would not 
have died if the work had not been done ; and if there were anything 
yet to do, he would die again. But Christ hath no more offering to 
make, nor suffering to endure, but only to behold the fruit of his suf 
fering. He hath not purchased a possible salvation, whose efficacy 
dependeth on the will of the creature, nor the remission of some sins, 
and left others upon our score ; nor made purchase of grace for a small 
time, but perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Popish satis 
faction, the loose, possible, pendulous salvation of Arminians, and the 
doctrine of the apostasy of the saints, are all doctrines prejudicial to 
the full merit of Christ. It is all finished ; there is enough done to 
glorify God and save the creature ; justice could demand no more for 
all engagements. Christ is not ashamed to plead his right at the bar 
of justice, and to avouch his work before the tribunal of God. This, 
it is finished, is like Christ s seal to the charter of grace. Now take 
it, and much good may it do you ! Oh ! that we could rest satisfied 
with the merit of Christ, as divine justice is satisfied. What should 
trouble the creature when Christ hath entered his plea, Father, it is 
finished ? there is enough done. Christ hath no more to do but to 
sit at the right hand of God, and to rejoice in the welfare of the saints ; 
there remaining nothing for us but to make our claim, and to live in, 
joy and thankfulness. Christ did not compound, but pay the utter 
most farthing : Rom. viii. 1, ovSev Kara/cpi^a, There is no condem 
nation to them that are in Christ Jesus ; there is not one curse left. 
When Israel was brought out of Egypt, it is said, A dog shall not 
move his tongue against you, Exod. xi. 7. Neither the law, nor wrath, 
nor conscience, nor Satan hath anything to do with you ; the prison is 
broken up, the book cancelled, the bill nailed to Christ s cross, that it 
may never be put in suit again. The devil may trouble you for your 
exercise, but bear it with comfort and patience ; you have an advocate 
as well as an accuser. Oh ! that we had a faith suitable to the height 
of these mysteries, that we could behold the salvation of God in our 
serious thoughts, and echo to Christ s cry, It is finished, it is finished ! 
It is not a full-grown faith till we break out into some triumph ; the 
child may now play upon the cockatrice s hole. I am much indebted 
to justice, but Christ hath paid all. 

Which thou hast given me to do, SeSw/ea? ; it is the same word 

VER. 4.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 173 

with that, ver. 2, Thou hast given him power over all flesh ; and 
now, the work which thou hast given me to do/ God, that gave him 
his power, gave him his work. 

Augustine interpreteth the word somewhat nicely, non ait, jussisti, 
sed dedisti ; ibi commendatur evidens gratia; quid enim habuit quod 
non accepit, etiam in unigenito,humana natura ? If you allow this inter 
pretation, as certainly this rigour of the word will bear it, then we may 

1. Observe that the privileges of the human nature of Christ are by 
gift. Whatever the manhood of Christ was advanced to, by dwelling 
with God in a personal union, it was by the mere grace of God. The 
apostle referreth it to the Father s pleasure : Col. i. 19, It pleased the 
Father that in him should all fulness dwell. God would make free 
grace appear in none so much as in our head, and set out Christ as the 
example of his gracious election. Whatsoever honour the human 
nature of Christ had, it had it by grace and gift, it was chosen to this 
honour. Certainly we should ascribe all to grace, if Christ himself 
did, if he accounted it a gift, that his human nature was taken into 
the honour of the mediatory office. 

2. We may observe, that work itself is a gift. Christ speaketh thus 
of the work of the mediatory office, which was sad work, labouring in 
the fire, in the fire of the divine wrath and displeasure. Elsewhere it 
is said of our faith and suffering, Phil. i. 23, Unto you it is given, on 
the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for 
his sake. It is given of grace ; we should count duty an honour, and 
service a privilege : Hosea viii. 12, 1 have written to him the great 
things of my law ; honorabilia legis mece. 

But I rather interpret it of giving in charge : Thou hast put this 
office upon me of redeeming mankind, and this work I have done. 

The note from hence is 

Observe that Christ had his work appointed him by God : Ps. xl. 
7, 8, Lo, I come ; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I 
delight to do thy will, my God ; yea, thy law is within my heart. 
It is a great condescension of Christ that he would come under a law, 
and as a servant take work upon his own shoulders. The apostle saith 
he came in the form of a servant, Phil. ii. 7. He was a prince by birth, 
yet he came as a servant of the divine decrees. He spake of command 
ments that he received from the Father. He wholly devoted himself 
to his Father s will and man s benefit. Oh ! admire the proceedings 
between the Father and the Son, by way of command and promise. 
The transactions of heaven are put into a federal form, and as our 
surety he is to receive a law. 

Secondly, Let us consider the words in the moral sense and accom 
modation, and then in this plea which Christ maketh when he was 
about to die we may observe these circumstances : 

L What he says, I have glorified thee. 

2. Where, upon earth. 

3. How, I have finished the work thou hast given me to do. 

Doct. They that would die comfortably should make this their 
great care, to glorify God upon the earth, and finish the work which 
he hath given them to do in their several stations and relations. 

Here I shall show (1.) What it is to glorify God upon the earth, 


&c. ; (2.) Why this should be our chief care ; (3.) That when we come 
to die, this will be our comfort. 
First, What it is to glorify God upon earth, &c. Here 

1. Quid? What it is to glorify God. 

2. UU? Upon the earth. 

3. Quomodo ? By finishing the work which he hath given us to do. 
First, Quid? I have glorified thee. God is glorified actively and 


1. Passively, which noteth the event, which cometh to pass by the 
wisdom and overruling of God s providence ; and so all things shall 
at length glorify God in the event : Ps. Ixxvi. 10, Surely the wrath 
of man shall praise thee. In the Septuagint it is eoprda-erai, shall 
keep holy day : the fierce endeavours of his enemies do but make his 
glory the more excellent. So our lie and unrighteousness may com 
mend the truth and mercy of God, Kom. iii. 5, 7. Pharaoh was 
raised up for God s glory ; as the valour of a king is discovered by the 
rebellion of his subjects, the skill of the physician by the desperateness 
of the disease. But this is no thanks to them, but to God s wise and 
powerful government ; it will not lessen their fault and punishment. 
A wicked man may say in the end, I have been an occasion that God 
hath been glorified. 

2. Actively we glorify God when we set ourselves to this work, and 
make this our end and scope, that we may be to the praise of his glo 
rious grace. Some learn their school-fellows lessons better than their 
own ; they would have God glorified, but look to others rather than to 
themselves. We would have God glorified, but do not glorify him, 
are more careful of events than duties. We are ready to ask, Lord, 
what wilt thou do for thy great name ? but do not consider our own 
engagement, How shall I glorify God ? 

But what is it thus actively to glorify God ? 

Ans. [1.] To acknowledge his excellency upon all occasions : Ps. 1. 
23, He that offereth praise glorifieth me. Praising him for his 
excellencies, and declaring the glory of his attributes and works, is one 
way of glorifying him. God s glorifying of us is effective and creative, 
ours declarative and manifestive : He calleth the things that are not 
as though they were ; but we do no more but say things to be what 
they are, and that far below what they are. We declare God to be 
what he is, and are a kind of witnesses to his glory. He is the efficient 
and sole cause of all the good that we have and are, and bestows some 
thing upon us which was not before. This declaring the glory of God 
is expressed by two words, praise and blessing ; Ps. cxlv. 10, All thy 
works shall praise thee, Lord : thy saints shall bless thee/ Praise 
referreth to his excellency, blessing to his benefits ; both must be done 
seriously and frequently, and with a deep impression of his goodness 
and excellency upon our hearts. Every address we make to God 
tendeth to this, that God may have his due praise understandingly 
and affectionately ascribed to him. Kepentance and broken-hearted 
confession giveth him the praise of his justice ; the exercise of faith, 
and running for refuge to the grace of the gospel, doth glorify his 
mercy ; thanksgiving for benefits received, his benignity and goodness 
petitioning for grace, his holiness. 

VEK. 4.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 175 

[2.] By a perfect subjection and resignation of our wills to his will. 
It is work glorifieth God more than words. Verbal praises, if desti 
tute of these, they are but an empty prattle : Job xxxi. 20, If his 
loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of 
my sheep/ So 2 Thes. i. 11, 12, Wherefore also we pray always for 
you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all 
the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power ; 
that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and 
you in him. Many speak good words of God, but their hearts are not 
subject to him, as the devil carried Christ to the top of a high moun 
tain, but with an intent to bid him throw himself down again. So 
many think to exalt God in their professions and praises, but they 
dishonour him in their lives. God is most glorified in the creatures 
obedience, and submission to his laws or providence. 

(1.) To his laws, when we study to please him in all things : Col. i. 
10, That ye may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being 
fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. 
It is a great honour to a master when his servants are so ready and 
willing to please him : I say to one, Go, and he goeth ; to another, 
Come, and he cometh ; to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it/ Mat. 
viii. 9. It is said of Abraham, God called him to his foot, Isa xli. 2. 
He went to and fro at his command. If God said, Go out of thy 
country, Abraham obeyed. 

(2.) To his providence. It is an honour to him when we are con 
tented to be what God will have us to be, and can prefer his glory 
before our own ease, his honour before our plenty. And so it was with 
Christ : John xii. 27, 28, Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I 
say ? Father, save me from this hour ; but for this cause came I to 
this hour. Father, glorify thy name; that satisfied him, so God 
might be glorified. So Paul, Phil. i. 20, Christ shall be magnified 
in my body, whether it be by life or by death/ As a traveller takes 
the way as he findeth it, so it will lead him to his journey s end. We 
must be as a die in the hands of providence ; whether the cast prove 
high or low, we are still upon the square. 

3. We glorify God rather by entertaining the impressions of his 
glory upon us than by communicating any kind of glory to him ; and 
so we glorify him when we grow most like him, when we show forth 
his virtues : 1 Peter ii. 9, Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priest 
hood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the 
praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous 
light/ The children of God are a glass and image, wherein the per 
fections of God are visibly held forth ; his perfections are stamped 
upon us, that all that see us may see God in us. But alas ! most of 
us are but dim glasses, show forth little of God to the world. Thus 
the creatures glorify God objectively; there is some what of the wisdom, 
goodness, and power of God stamped upon them, somewhat of God to 
be seen in every thing which he hath made. So man much more. 
There are vestigia Dei, the footsteps of God in the creatures ; but 
similitude et imago Dei, the likeness and image of God in man, in his 
natural excellences, much more in the new creature, efc TO elvai, that 
we may be to his praise/ Eph. i. 12. There is more of God engraven 


on us when a true spirit of wisdom, justice, holiness, truth, love pre- 
vaileth upon our hearts, and runneth through all our operations ; when 
we live as such as converse with the great fountain of goodness and 
holiness. A Christian s life is a hymn to God ; his circumspect walk 
ing proclaimeth the wisdom of God ; his awefulness and watchfulness 
against sin proclaimeth the majesty of God ; his cheerful and ready 
obedience under the hardest sufferings proclaimeth the goodness of 
God ; his purity and strictness, the holiness of God ; the impression 
and stamp of all the letters of God s glorious name is imprinted upon 
his heart and life. A carnal Christian polluteth his honour and pro- 
faneth his name : Ezek. xxxvi. 20, And when they entered unto the 
heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they 
said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out 
of his land/ But how can God be polluted by us ? As a man that 
lusteth after a woman hath committed adultery with her in his heart, 
while she is spotless and undefiied, Mat. v. 28. Carnal Christians are 
a scandal to religion ; they are called Christians in opprobrium Christi. 
Men judge by what is visible and sensible, and think of God by his 
worshippers, by those who profess themselves to be a people near and 
dear to him. 

4. By that which is an immediate consequence of the former, by an 
exemplary conversation, when we do those things which tend to the. 
honour of God s name, and to bring him into request in the world : 
1 Peter ii. 12, Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, 
that whereas they speak against you, as of evil-doers, they may, by 
your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of 
visitation; Mat. v. 16, Let your light so shine before men, that they 
may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. 
Our holiness must be shown forth for edification, not for ostentation ; 
not for our glory, but the glory of our heavenly Father. It is the 
fruitful Christian bringeth most honour to God : John xv. 8, Herein 
is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit. Glorifying God is 
not a few transient thoughts of God and his glory, or a few cold 
speeches of his excellences and benefits ; this is not the great end for 
which we were made, and new made ; but that we might be fruitful 
in all holiness, and show forth those impressions which God hath left 
upon us. In the impression we are passive ; in showing it forth, 

5. When we are active for his interest in the world. Our Lord 
took notice of it in his disciples : John xvii. 7, Now they have known 
that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. If we are 
agents for his kingdom, he will be our advocate in heaven. This ia 
the method of the Lord s prayer, Hallowed be thy name ; and then, 
Thy kingdom come. This is the first means of promoting the great 
end. Jesus Christ himself telleth us this was the end of his coming 
into the world : John xviii. 37, To this end was I born, and for this 
cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the 
truth. It belonged to him in a more especial way, as the great 
prophet of the church ; he came out of the bosom of God to reveal the 
secrets of God ; and for the same end we all came into the world : Isa. 
xliii. 10, Ye are my witaesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom 

VER. 4.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 177 

I have chosen, that ye may know and believe me, and understand that 
I am he/ They that felt the comfortable effects of his promises and 
his truth can best witness for him. A report of a report is little 
valued ; we are all to witness to God, by entertaining it in our hearts 
and showing forth the fruit of it in our lives ; this is a witness to an 
unbelieving and careless world : John iii. 33, He that hath received 
his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true; Heb. xi. 7, By 
faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with 
fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by which he con 
demned the world; Phil. ii. 15, That ye may be blameless and 
harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked 
and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world. 
When you are diligent in holiness, patient and joyful under the cross, 
full of hope and comfort in great straits, meek, self-denying, mortified, 
you sanctify God in the eyes of others ; you propagate the faith by an 
open profession : Mat. xi. 19, Wisdom is justified of her children. 
When we suffer for it in times of great danger, and seal it with our 
blood, it is a great glory to God: John xxi. 19, This said he, signi 
fying by what death he should glorify God. It is an honour to God 
when, in the midst of temptations and discouragements, we are not 
ashamed of his ways. 

6. By doing that work which he hath given us to do. But what is 
that work which he hath given us to do? Ans. (1.) The duty of 
our relations ; (2.) The duty of our vocations and callings. 

[1.] The duty of our particular relations. They that are not good 
in their relations are nowhere good. This is a rule, that whatsoever 
we are, we must be that to God. A heathen could say, Si essem 
luscinia, canerem ut luscinia, &c. If I were a lark, I would soar as a 
lark ; if a nightingale, I would sing as a nightingale. As a man, I 
should praise God ; as such a man, in such a relation, still I should 
glorify God in the condition in which he hath set me. If poor, I 
glorify God as a poor man, by my diligence, patience, innocence, con- 
tentedness ; if rich, I glorify God by a humble mind ; if well, I glorify 
God by my health ; if sick, by meekness under his hand ; if a magis 
trate, by my zeal, improving all advantages of service, Neh. i. 11. If 
a minister, by my watchfulness ; if a tradesman, by my righteousness. 
From the king to the scullion, all are to work for God ; every man is 
sent into the world to act that part in the world which the great 
Master of the scenes hath appointed to him : Titus ii. 10, That ye 
may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. As to hus 
band and wife : Prov. xviii. 22, He that findeth a wife, findeth a 
good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord. God expecteth that, 
in the catalogue of our mercies, we should bless God for our relations. 
Our relations are the sphere of our activity. 

[2.] The duty of our vocation and calling. Every Christian hath his 
way and place, some work which God gave him. But of this see more 
by and by. 

7. When God is the great scope and end of our lives and actions ; 
of all that we are, all that we do, all that we desire ; God must be the 
ultimate end. In our ordinary actions : 1 Cor. x. 31, Whether ye 

VOL. x. M 


eat or drink, or whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Not offer 
a meat-offering and drink-offering to appetite. The apostle instances 
in these things, partly because in these natural actions we are most 
apt to offend. Such is the unthankful nature of man, that we forget 
God when he remembers us most ; when he is most present in the 
fruits of his bounty, then he is usually banished from our hearts. 
Corruptions are most stirring when we are warmed with the liberal 
use of the creatures. Job sacrificed when his children feasted : Job i. 
5, And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, 
that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, 
and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all : for 
Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their 
hearts. The devil bringeth his dish usually to our tables, disdain of 
the slenderness of our provision, quarrels, contentions, censures of the 
people of God, &c. Partly for greater emphasis. If in common 
actions we are to design God s glory as our end, much more in such 
actions as we make a business of. So in acts of grace ; the creature 
cannot be the ultimate end, and God s goodness only a means there 
unto. There is a great deal of learned folly and atheism vented, 
branding those as mystical divines that call upon men to mind things 
as God minded them, who aims at his own glory as his ultimate end, 
Eph. i. 6. They say man s ultimate end is his own happiness. Some 
cry up the principle of self-love. Then belike all the goodness of God 
is to be estimated by the felicity of man ; this were to make man his 
own idol, and to measure all good and evil by his own interest. The 
fulfilling of God s will and promoting his glory should be the end of 
all obedience ; otherwise we make not the creature for God, but God 
for the creature, and so make the creature better than God, as being 
the ultimate end of God himself, at least to us, as if the highest end 
of all his goodness were the felicity of the creature. 

Secondly, Ubi ? Where ? On earth, I have glorified thee on 

1. Where so few mind God s glory, where all seek their own things, 
their own honour, their own profit, their own personal contentment. 
A Christian should walk in counter-motion to the generality of the 
world : Phil. iii. 20, But our conversation is in heaven ; Mai. iv. 1, 2, 
The day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea 
and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, &c. But unto you that fear 
the Lord, &c. He is an exception from the common use and practice 
of mankind. 

2. On earth, which is the place of our trial, where there are so many 
difficulties and temptations to divert us. We must glorify him on 
earth if we expect that he should glorify us in heaven. Many expect 
to glorify God in heaven, but take no care to glorify God here on 
earth. The saints in heaven glorify God, but without any difficulty, 
strife, and danger, it costs them no shame, no pain, no trouble, no loss 
of life or limb ; but here where the danger is, there is the duty and 
trial : Mat. x. 32, Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, 
him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. Christ 
will remember them and their labour of love. When he cometh in 
his majesty, he is not ashamed of his poor clients and friends ; these 

VER. 4.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 179 

owned me in my abasement, and I will own them in my exalted state. 
You cannot honour Christ so much as he will honour you : Mat. 
xix. 28, Ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the 
Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon 
twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Ye. who are here 
exposed to sorrows and sufferings for his sake. It is fond to think of 
glorifying God in heaven, and singing hallelujahs to his praise, when 
thou dost not stand to his truth on earth. Esse bonum facile est, ubi 
quid vetat est remotum. The trial of duty is self-denial. 

Thirdly, Quomodo ? I have finished the work which thou hast 
given me to do/ 

1. It is work that glorifieth God ; it is not words and empty praises, 
but a holy conversation : Job xxxi. 20, If his loins have not blessed 
me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; Mat. 
v. 16, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good 
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven ; Ps. 1. 23, Whoso 
offereth praise, glorifieth me ; and to him that ordereth his conversa 
tion aright, will I show the salvation of God ; John xv. 8, Herein is 
my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my dis 
ciples. A godly fruitful life is the real honour, the other is but empty 
prattle. It is our work and actions, not our bare profession only ; you 
may pollute God else, Ezek. xxxvi. 20, you may exalt him in profes 
sion, and pollute him in conversation. Many Christians lives are the 
scandal of their religion. Again, it is not wishes that glorify God, but 
practice. We would have God glorified, but do not glorify him. We 
would have him glorified passively, but do not glorify him actively, 
and are more careful of events than duties. We are troubled about 
God s name, and are more ready to ask, Lord, what wilt thou do for 
thy great name? than, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? A 
Christian should rather be troubled about what he should do, than 
about what he should suffer. 

2. That every man hath his work. Life was given to us for some 
what ; not merely that we might fill up the number of things in the 
world, as stones and rubbish : not to grow in stature ; so life was given 
to the plants, that they might grow bulky and increase in stature : nor 
merely to taste pleasures ; that is the happiness of the beasts, to enjoy 
pleasures without remorse. God gave men higher faculties of reason 
and conscience, to manage some work and business for the glory of 
God, and his own eternal happiness. The rule is general, that all 
Adam s sons are to eat their bread in the sweat of their brows, to 
follow some honest labour and vocation. Adam s two sons were heirs- 
apparent of the world, the one employed in tillage, the other in pastur 
age. The world was never made to be a hive for drones and idle ones. 
It is true there is a difference between callings ; some live by manual 
labours, others by more noble employments, as magistrates, ministers, 
who study for public good. Manual labour is not required of all, be 
cause it is a thing that is not required propter se, as simply good and 
necessary, but propter aliud, as for maintenance and support of life, to 
ease others, and to supply the uses of charity : Eph. iv. 28, Let him 
that stole, steal no more ; but rather let him labour, working with his 
hands the thing that is good, that he may have to give to him that 


needeth. When the ends of labour cannot otherwise be obtained, 
then handy labour is required. All others are to serve their genera 
tion according to the will of God, Acts xiii. 26. As instruments of 
providence to serve the common good, to promote the welfare of their 
family, neighbourhood, country. Those that spend their whole life in 
eating, drinking, sporting, and sleeping, are guilty of brutish idleness, 
one of Sodom s sins : Ezek. xvi. 49, Behold, this was the iniquity of 
thy sister Sodom ; pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness 
was in her and in her daughters. And therefore those that are freed 
from service and handy labour are not freed from work and business. 
If any man must be allowed to be idle, then one member must be lost 
in the body politic. A man is born a member of some society, family, 
or city, and is to seek the good of it : he is &ov TroXirucov. We see 
in the body natural there is no member but hath its function and use, 
whereby it becometh serviceable to the whole. All have not the same 
office, that would make a confusion ; but all have their use, either as 
an eye, or as a hand, or as a tooth. So in the body politic, no member 
may be useless, they must have one function or another wherein to 
employ themselves, otherwise they are unprofitable burdens of the 
earth. Again, every man is more or less intrusted with a gift, which 
he is to exercise and improve for the good of others, and at the day of 
judgment he is to give up his accounts ; as you may learn from the 
parable of the talents, Mat. xxv. If he hath but one talent, it must 
not be hidden in a napkin. Well, then, if every man hath a gift, for 
which he is accountable to God, he must have a calling : 1 Cor. vii. 
17, But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hatli 
called every man, so let him walk, and choose his state of life. Be 
sides, a calling is necessary to prevent the mischiefs of idleness, and 
those inconveniences that follow men not employed. Standing pools 
are apt to putrify, but running waters are sweetest. An idle man is a 
burden to himself, a prey to Satan, a grief to the Spirit of God, a mis 
chief to others. He is a burden to himself, for he knoweth not what 
to do with his time ; in the morning he says, Would God it were 
evening ; and in the evening, Would God it were morning. The 
mind is like a mill ; when it wanteth corn, it grindeth upon itself. 
He is a prey to Satan : The house is emptied, swept, and garnished ; 
and then he goeth and taketh with himself seven other spirits more 
wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there/ Mat. xii. 44, 
45. The devil findeth them at leisure. When David was idle on the 
terrace, he was tempted to adultery. Birds are seldom taken in their 
flight, but when they pitch and rest on the ground. He is a grief to 
God s Spirit : Eph. iv. 28, Let him that stole, steal no more ; but 
rather let him labour, working with his hands, that he may have to 
give to him that needeth ; with ver. 30, And grieve not the Holy 
Spirit of God. Idle men quench the vigor of their natural gifts, and 
lose those abilities that are bestowed on them. He is a mischief to 
others : 2 Thes. iii. 11, For we hear there are some that walk among 
you disorderly, pr,Sev epya&pevovs, a\\a "TrepiepyaZoftevovs, working 
not at all, but are busybodies. They that do nothing will do too 
much ; no work maketh way for ill work, or for censure and busy in 
quisition into other men s actions, and so they prove the firebrands of 

VER. 4.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 181 

contention and unneighbourly quarrels. There must be a calling, 
and a work to do. 

3. This work is given them by God. He appointeth to every one 
his task, and will be glorilied by no works but what are by himself 
assigned to them in their station : (1.) By his word ; (2.) By his 

[1.] By his word. There is no calling and course of service good but 
what is agreeable to the word of God : Ps. cxix. 105, Thy word is a 
light unto my feet and a lamp unto my paths. We must not settle 
in a sinful course of life. Men may tolerate evil callings, but God 
never appointed them. As for instance, if any calling and course of 
life be against piety, temperance, justice, it is against the word : Titus 
ii. 12, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we 
should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. 
Against piety ; as to be an idolatrous priest, or to make shrines for 
idols, which was Demetrius his calling in Ephesus ; and Tertullian, 
in his book De Idololatria, showeth this was the practice of many 
Christians to get their livings by making statues and images and 
other ornaments to sell to heathen idolaters. Against justice ; as 
piracy, usury, and other oppressive courses. Against sobriety ; as such 
callings as merely tend to feed the luxury, pride, and vanity of men, 
so mountebanks, comedians, stage-players. It were endless to instance 
in all. In general, the calling must be good and lawful. 

[2.] By his providence, which ruleth in everything that falleth out, 
even to the least matters ; especially hath the Lord a great hand in 
callings, and appointing to every one his estate and condition of life. 
In paradise, God set Adam his work to dress and prune the trees of 
the garden, Gen. ii. 15 ; and still he doth not only give abilities and 
special inclinations, but also disposeth of the education of the parent, 
and the passages of men s lives to bring them to such a calling : Isa. 
liv. 16, Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in 
the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work. Com 
mon trades and crafts are from the Lord. The heathens had a several 
god for every several trade, as the Papists now have a tutelar saint ; 
but they rob God of his honour, he giveth the faculty and the blessing : 
Isa, xxviii, 26-29, His God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth 
teach him, &c. He giveth the state, and appointeth the work. Your 
particular estate and condition of life doth not come by chance, or by 
the care, will, and pleasure of man, but the ordination of God, without 
whom a sparrow cannot fall to the ground. In the higher callings of 
ministry and magistracy there is a greater solemnity. 

But how should a man glorify God in his place and station wherein 
God hath set him ? 

Ans. [1.] Be content with it, God is the master of the scenes, and 
appoints which part to act. We must not prescribe to providence, at 
what rate we will be maintained, nor what we will do, but keep within 
the bounds of our place. If you do anything that is not within the 
compass of your calling, you can have no warrant that it pleaseth 
God. Christ would not intermeddle out of his calling : Luke xii. 14, 
Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? Uzzah s put 
ting his hand to the ark cost him dear. If troubles arise, we cannot 


suffer them comfortably, we are out of God s way. Most of our late 
mischiefs came from invading callings; as there are confusions in 
nature when elements are out of their places. God is glorified and 
served in a lower calling as well as in a higher ; poor servants may 
adorn the gospel of God our Saviour in all things/ Titus ii. 10. 

Ans. [2.] With patience digest the inconveniences of your calling. 
Affliction attendeth every state and condition of life, but we must go 
through cheerfully when in our way and place. 

4. This work must be finished and perfected ; we must be working 
till God call us off by death or irresistible providences. We must 
persist, hold out in God s way without defection : Kev. ii. 10, Be thou 
faithful unto the death ; I will give thee a crown of life. Get the gift 
of perseverance ; happy are they that have passed such a tempestuous 
sea with safety. He was a foolish builder who laid the foundation of 
a stately fabric and was not able to finish it. Oh ! when this is done, 
we may resign up ourselves to the mercy of God : 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8, I 
have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the 
faith. Henceforth is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which 
the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to 
me only, but unto them also that love his appearing. It is an excel 
lent thing, after such a dangerous voyage, to come safe to shore. How 
sweet is it to enjoy our past lives, and yield up our spirits to God, say 
ing, Lord, I have made it my study to glorify thee : Isa. xxxviii. 3, 
Remember now, Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before 
thee in truth, and with a perfect heart, and have done that which 
is good in thy sight. Other souls are taken away, but yours are 

Secondly, Why this should be our great care ? 

1. This is the end why all creatures were made : Rom. xi. 36, For 
of him, and through him, and to him, are all things/ When God did 
make the world, he did not throw it out of his hands, and leave it 
alone to subsist of itself, as a thing that had no further relation to him ; 
but so guides it and governs i it, that as the first production and 
continued subsistence of all things is from himself, so the ultimate 
resolution and tendency of all things might be to him. The whole 
world is a circle, and all the motions of the creatures are circular ; 
they end where they began ; as rivers run to the place whence they 
came. All that issueth out of the fountain of his goodness must fall 
again into the ocean of his glory, but man especially. If God had 
made us to live for ourselves, it were lawful ; but Prov. xvi. 4, The 
Lord hath made all things for himself ; all things are made ultimately 
and terminatively for God, but man immediately. Creatures are 
made immediately for us, and submit to our dominion, or are created 
for our use. 

2. From God s right and interest in us : Rom. xiv. 7, 8, For none 
of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we 
live, we live unto the Lord ; and whether we die, we die unto the 
Lord; whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord s; we are 
his, and therefore for him. All that you have is God s, and by giving 
it to you he did not divest himself of his own right. God scatters his 
benefits as the husbandman doth his seed, that he may receive a crop. 

VER. 4.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 183 

His glory is not due to another ; he made us out of nothing, and 
bought us: 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, Ye are not your own, ye are bought 
with a price ; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, 
which are God s. If we had anything our own, we might use it for 

3. We shall be called to an account: Luke xix. 23, Wherefore 
then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I 
might have required my own with usury ? We must give an account, 
what honour God hath had by us in our relations, as magistrates, 
ministers, masters of families, servants, husbands, wives, parents, chil 
dren ; what honour by our estates, relations, &c. We are obliged so 
deeply by preceding benefits, that if there were no account to be given, 
we should be careful to use all things for his glory. Oh ! but much 
more when there will be so strict and severe an account : The Lord of 
those servants will reckon with them. What we enjoy is not donum, 
a gift, but talentum, a talent, to be improved for our master s use. 
Beasts are liable to no account, because they have not reason and con 
science, as man hath, and are merely ruled with a rod of iron : they 
are to glorify God passively ; but we are left to our choice, and there 
fore must give an account. 

4. Because of the great benefit that cometh to us by it. God noteth 
it, and rewards it. He noteth it : John xvii. 10, And all mine are 
thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. Our Kedeemer 
speaketh well of us behind our backs, and maketh a good report of us 
in heaven. And he rewards it in the day of his royalty. Christ will 
not be ashamed of his poor servants : Mat. xix. 28, Ye which have 
followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the 
throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the 
twelve tribes of Israel. 

5. The end ennobleth a man, and still the man is according to his 
end. Low spirits have low designs, and a base end is pursued by base 
actions : ^at. vi. 22, 23, The light of the body is the eye : if there 
fore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light ; but if 
thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. Men are 
properly such as the end that they aim at; he that pursueth any 
worldly interest or earthly thing, as his end is earthly, he becometh 
himself earthly ; the more the soul directeth itself to God, the more 
God-like ; their inclinations are above the base things of this world : 
Ps. xvii. 14, From men of the world, which have their portion in 
this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasures. The 
noblest soul is for the noblest object ; others do but provide for the 
flesh, they drive on no greater trade ; they may talk of heaven, wish 
for it rather than hell, when they can live no longer, but their lives 
are only for feathering a nest, which will quickly be pulled down. To 
rule a kingdom is a nobler design than to play with children for pins 
or nuts. A man that designeth only to pamper his body, to live in all 
plenty, what a poor life doth he lead ! A beast can eat, drink, sleep, 
as they do : Phil. iii. 19, 20, Whose end is destruction, whose god is 
their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things; 
but our conversation is in heaven, &c. They make a great pother in 
the world about a brutish life, which will soon have an end. 


6. God will have his glory upon you, if not from you, for he is re 
solved not to be a loser by the creature : Prov. xvi. 4, The Lord hath 
made all things for himself, yea even the wicked for the day of evil ; 
Lev. x. 3, This is that which the Lord saith, I will be sanctified in 
them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. 
He will have the glory of his justice in the day of wrath and evil, 
if not the glory of his grace in the day of his patience and mercy. 
Therefore either he will be glorified by you, or upon you. Some give 
him glory in an active, some in a passive way. If he have not 
the glory of his command, which is our duty, he will have the glory of 
his providence in the event. And how sad that will be, judge ye, 
when you serve for no other use but to set forth the glory of his vin 
dictive justice. 

7. It must be our last end, which must fix men s mind, which 
otherwise will be tossed up and down with perpetual uncertainty, and 
distracted by a multiplicity of ends and objects, that it cannot con 
tinue in any composed and settled frame : Ps. Ixxxvi. 11, Unite my 
heart to fear thy name ; James i. 8, A double-minded man is un 
stable in all his ways. A divided mind causes an uncertain life, no one 
part of our lives will agree with another, the whole not being firmly 
knit by the power of some last end running through all. 

Thirdly, That when we come to die, this will be our comfort, 
Christ hath left us a pattern here. And Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 3, 
Kemember now, Lord, how I have walked before thee in truth, and 
with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. 
Oh ! the comfort of a well-spent life to a dying Christian ! 2 Tim. 
iv. 7, 8, I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I 
have kept the faith : henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of 
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at 
that day ; and not to me only, but to all them also that shall love his 
appearing/ Then a man can run over his life with comfort, when he 
hath been careful for the matter and end to glorify God. 

Use. Oh ! then, consider two things : 

1. The end why you were sent into the world. Why do I live here ? 
Most men live like beasts, eat, drink, sleep, and die ; never sit down, 
and in good earnest consider, Why was I born ? why did I come into 
the world ? and so their lives are but a mere lottery ; the fancies they 
are governed by are jumbled together by chance ; if they light of a 
good hit, it is a casual thing ; they live at peradventure, and then no 
wonder they walk at random. 

2. What we shall do when our lives are at an end, and we are to 
appear before God s tribunal. Oh ! that you would consider this, now 
you are in your health and strength : Deut. xxxii. 29, Oh ! that they 
were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their 
latter end 1 Much of wisdom lieth in considering the end of things. 
We are hastening apace into the other world, it is good to consider 
what we have to say when we come to die : Job xxxi. 14, What shall 
I then do, when God riseth up ? and when he visiteth, what shall I 
answer him ? viz., at the latter end, when I am immediately to appear 
before God, when he summons us by sickness into his presence, and 
the devil is more busy at such a time to tempt and trouble us, and all 

VER. 5.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 185 

other comforts fail, and are as unsavoury as the white of an egg, then 
this will notably embolden our hearts : 2 Cor. i. 12, For our rejoicing 
is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly 
sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have 
had our conversation in the world. Oh ! will this comfort you, that 
you have sported and gamed away your precious time, that you have 
fared of the best, lived in pomp and honour ? Oh ! no ; but this, I 
have made conscience of honouring and glorifying God, of being faith 
ful in my place, in promoting the common good there, where God 
hath cast my lot. Oh ! then, go on, your comfort will increase. If 
hitherto you have been pleasing the flesh, idling and wantoning away 
your precious time, say, 1 Peter iv. 3, For the time past of our life may 
suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked 
in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and 
abominable idolatries. You have too long walked contrary to the end 
of your creation, in dishonouring God, and destroying your own souls. 


And now, Father, glorify thou me witli thine own self, with the glory 
which I had with thee before the world ivas. JOHN XVII. 5. 

JESUS CHRIST, as God-man, in this chapter, prayeth to God. His 
prayer is first for himself, and then for his members. In all things he 
is to have the pre-eminence, as being infinitely of more worth and 
desert than all. His prayer for himself is to be glorified, which he 
enforceth and explaineth. He enforceth it by sundry reasons ; the last 
that he pleaded was, that he had done his work, and therefore, according 
to the covenant and agreement that was between them, he sueth out 
his wages. In the suit, he explaineth how he would be glorified : I 
have glorified thee on earth, and now, Father, glorify thou me with 
thyself, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 

For the opening of this request, I shall propound several ques 
tions : 

1. According to what nature this is spoken ? 

2. What is this glory ? 

3. Why he seeketh of the Father, the first person ? Could he not 
glorify himself ? 

4. Why is he so earnest for his own glory ? 

Quest. 1. According to what nature is this spoken, the divine or 
human ? The reason of the doubt is, because to the divine nature 
nothing could be given, and the human nature cannot be said to have 
this glory which Christ had before the world was, for then it would 
remain no longer human. 

I answer The request is made in the person of the mediator. God-man 
is distinctly and separately to be applied to neither nature, but to the 
whole person. The person of Christ was hitherto beclouded during the 
time of his humiliation ; now he desireth to be glorified, that is, that the 
divine majesty may shine forth in the person of the mediator ; and that 


laying aside the form of a servant, he might return to the form of God, 
and that he might appear in his whole person, the human nature not 
excluded, as he was before the foundation of the world. 

Quest. 2. The next question is, What is this glorifying ? 

I answer There is a twofold glorifying (1.) Per glorice manifes- 
tationem ; (2.) Per glorice collationem ; by way Of manifestation, and 
by way of gift and collation. Both are intended ; the manifestation 
concerneth both natures, and the collation or gift only the human 
nature. It must be understood according to the properties of each 
nature. Quce in tempore Christo dantur, secundum humanam naturam 

1. For the divine nature, Christ prayeth that it may be glorified by 
the clearer manifestation of his godhead, for that cannot receive any 
intrinsecal improvement or glory. It is dvrdpK^ KOI ayaera^ro?; but 
so far as it was humbled, so far it was glorified. Now Christ humbled 
himself, not by putting off his divine glory, but by suffering it to be 
overshadowed ; as the light of a candle in a dark lanthorn, there is a 
light in it, but you cannot see it till the cover be taken away. Now 
Christ desireth that the cover and veil may be taken away. His glory 
was not lessened, but beclouded ; the divine essence that was hidden 
under the weakness of the flesh was now to be manifested and made 
known to all men. But you will say, it is Trapa Trarpl, not irapa 
dv6pd>7roi<;, he desireth the glory he had with him might be restored, 
not the glory with men. I answer 

[1.] The glory which he had with him may be more clearly mani 
fested to the world ; he had it with the Father, yet beggeth it of the 

[2.] I answer again There is somewhat more than manifestation 
in the world, for he saith, Trapa <reavT<p, with thyself. The Father 
was glorified by the Son, eVt rr}? 77)9, upon the earth ; but now 
glorify thou me, Trapa aeavrS), with thyself. So John xiii. 32, If 
God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, or with 
himself. So that he beggeth a full use and exercise of the divine 
power, from which he had abstained in the time of his humiliation 
and abasement. Now that time being finished, he prayeth that it may 
be restored, that he may be exalted in the full manifestation and ex 
ercise of his divine power ; that his whole person might be exalted 
again at the right hand of majesty. 

2. For his human nature. The flesh was not yet glorified, and 
taken up to God s right hand, that is, exalted to the fruition of eternal 
glory, as afterwards it was above ail creatures in heaven and earth. 
The human nature was to have as much glory as it is capable of, by 
being united to the divine person, immortality, power, clarity, know 
ledge, grace ; but not to have the properties of the divine nature really 
transfused, for then it would no longer be finite, nor remain a creature. 
It was to be raised to the full fruition of the glory of the divine nature, 
and freed from those infirmities to which, by the exigence of Christ s 
office upon earth, it was subjected. Thus what this glorifying is ; but 
I shall speak more fully to it by and by. 

Quest. 3. Why he seeketh it of the Father ? Could he not glorify 
himself, and exalt his own person and human nature ? 

VER. 5.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvu. 187 

I answer He could, but would not. 

1. The Father is the fountain of the divinity ; he is first in order, 
and so all such actions are ascribed to him. However, to show the 
unity of essence, Christ is said to do it as well as the Father : John v. 
19, What things soever the Father doth, these doth the Son likewise/ 
The Father is said to sanctify the Son/ John x. 36, and the Son is 
said to sanctify himself. The Father raiseth the Son from the dead. 
Eph. i. 10 ; and Christ saith, John ii. 19, Destroy this temple, and in 
three days I will raise it up again. The Father placeth the Son at 
his right hand, Eph. i. 20 ; and the Son is said to sit down at the 
right hand of the Father. However, because Christ came into the 
world to glorify the Father, and to show him to be the original and 
fountain of the divinity, therefore he saith, c Father, glorify thou me 
with thyself. 

2. Because the Father is to be looked upon as judge and chief in the 
work of redemption. Man is the debtor, Christ the surety, and the 
Father the judge, before whose tribunal satisfaction is to be made. 
Therefore God the Father, after the price and ransom was paid, was to 
give Christ power and leave to rise from the dead, to ascend into 
heaven, and to govern and judge the world. And yet he raised 
himself by his own power. There is potestas and potentia, Swa/us 
and egovaia, authority, leave, and power. Christ had power in him 
self, but he had leave from the Father : John x. 18, I have power to 
lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. Potentiam resur- 
gendi Christus habet a seipso, sed potestatem a patre. In this whole 
business, Christ is to be considered as the surety, that took our whole 
business upon himself, and rendered himself liable to the judgment of 
God so long, till the Father should declare himself to be satisfied, and 
so dismiss Christ from punishment. After fall satisfaction, he was to 
raise him from the power of death, and to glorify him. As the 
Father delivered him for us, so the Father dismissed him, raised him 
again ; he was not to break prison, but honourably to be brought out 
and rewarded by the judge. 

Quest. 4. Why is he so earnest for his own glory ? 
I answer All Christ s mediatory acts were for our sake, and so are 
his prayers. 

1. To comfort his disciples against his sufferings ; they were de 
jected, and therefore Christ in their hearing prayeth for divine glory : 
John xvii. 13, And these things I speak in the world, that they might 
have my joy fulfilled in themselves. There is not a more excellent 
way of gaining upon others than to commend them to God in prayer 
for that which they desire. 

2. To give the world an instruction, that suffering for God is the 
highway to glory : 2 Cor. iv. 17, Our light affliction, that is but for a 
moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of 
glory, as a necessary antecedent. We may suffer more for men 
than they are able to recompense, but there is nothing lost for God : 
2 Peter i. 11, An entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly 
into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The whole 
scriptures witness the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should 
follow ; according to the measure of afflictions, there shall be a suit- 


able weight of glory. There are notable passages in the story of 
Christ, to show the coupling of the cross and glory. The same dis 
ciples. Peter, James, and John, were the witnesses of his agonies, 
Mat. xxvi. 37, and of his transfiguration, Mat. xvii. 1. So where 
Christ began his passion there he began his ascension : Luke xxii. 
39, He went out to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed 
him ; and Acts i. 12, he ascended from Mount Olivet. 

3. For the advantage of his members. Christ knew it could not 
go well with the church unless it went well with himself ; it was for 
our profit The holy ointment was first poured on the head of the 
high priest, then on his members, Ps. cxxxiii. 3. His glory and grace 
is an argument of ours. He is endowed with the Spirit without mea 
sure, that we might have an unction from the Holy One. We are 
glorified with him, and are said to ascend with him : Eph. ii. 6, He 
hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places 
in Christ Jesus. Christ s glorification is a pledge of ours ; he is gone 
thither as our forerunner, to seize on heaven in our right : Heb. vi. 20, 
Whither our forerunner is for us entered ; and to prepare a place 
for us/ John xiv. 2. In heaven he is at God s right hand, and can 
procure it for us, and administereth and governeth the world for our 
good. He is in a greater capacity to do us good. He is our inter 
cessor and the world s governor ; all things necessary to salvation can 
better be despatched by his intercession and power. 

These things premised, the words will be easily opened. 

Father, glorify thou me with thine own self ; that is, suffer me to 
return to the glory which I had in common with thee in the divine 
nature, by the resurrection of my body, ascension, and sitting down at 
thy right hand. Ilapa a-eavrS), is opposed to eS6i;a<ra <re cVt 7775 
77}?, it is with thy self : John xiii. 31, 32, Now is the Son of man 
glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, 
God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify 
him. God was glorified by Christ as a servant, with an extrinsic glory 
in the view of the world. And now Christ prays to be glorified in or 
with the Father himself, with his own proper essential glory, the God 
head being restored to its full use and exercise, and the humanity being 
raised to the full fruition of the comfort of it. 

Which I had with thee before the world was. Grotius and others 
say, Non reali possessions, sed divina prcedestinatione, that is, by thy 
decree, in thy purpose and predestination. But that is not all, because 
he speaketh here of that infinite and essential glory, which is one and 
the same in all the persons, and so Christ had it as God blessed for 
ever ; and Christ having abstained from the use and exercise of it in a 
way proper to itself, now craveth a restitution. 

The points are : 

Doct. 1. That Christ is God, true God, and hath an eternal co-equal 
glory with the Father before the world was. Before the world there 
was nothing but the eternal infinite essence, that was common to the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Socinians seem to grant that he is 
of God, but not eternal God by nature; but here is a clear proof, 
Which I had with thee before the world was. 

Doct. 2. We may plead to God his own promises in deep and weighty 

VER. 5.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 189 

cases : Put me in remembrance, saith God, Isa. xliii. 26 ; as when 
death approacheth, or difficulties come upon us. Christ himself takes 
this course. 

Doct. 3. The ground of all sound hope is what was done before all 
worlds. Christ had glory actually, and we have a grant of it : 2 Tim. 
i. 9, According to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in 
Christ Jesus, before the world began. There was a grant of heaven 
and grace, and Christ received it for us. So Titus i. 2, In hope of 
eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, hath promised before the world 
began. There was a solemn promise, which Christ received on our 
behalf. The frame of grace was ancient; God sealed up a large 
charter, and indented with Christ before ever there were any men in 
the world. Let us not look for our happiness in this world ; our com 
forts do not depend upon the standing of it ; when the world is no 
more, you may be happy. 

Doct. 4. The chief point which I shall handle is, that Christ, in the 
economy or dispensation of grace, was reduced to such an exigence 
that he needeth to pray to be glorified : Father, glorify thou me with 
thyself, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 
It is a matter of weighty consideration that Christ should pray his 
Father to bestow on him the glory which he wanted. 

But how could Christ want glory, who was God-man in one person ? 
To clear this, I shall a little state both his humiliation and his exaltation. 

First, How far he humbled himself and wanted glory ; what was, 
indeed, the utmost of his humiliation. Here I shall show (1.) What 
glory he retained in the midst of it ; (2.) What he wanted. Certainly 
though in his outward appearance he had no form and comeliness in 
him, yet inwardly he was the fairest of men ; Isa. liii. 2, compared 
with Ps. xlv. 2. 

1. What glory he was possessed of at the present. Christ had a 
double glory the glory of his person, and the glory of his office. 
* [1.] The glory of his person. There was the union of the two 
natures ; he did not lose his godhead though he took flesh ; he was 
still the eternal Son of the Father, the brightness of his glory, and 
the express image of his person/ Heb. i. 3 ; John i. 14, The Word 
was made flesh, and dwelt among us, eaKijvcaaev, he pitched his tent, 
and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the 
Father. He was still co-equal with his Father ; the fulness of the 
Godhead dwelt in him ; his flesh was taken into the fellowship of the 
divine nature as soon as it began to have a being in the womb of the 
virgin, the highest dignity a creature is capable of. The person of the 
Son was truly communicated to the nature of man, and the nature of 
man truly communicated to the person of the Son. He that was the 
Son of man was truly the Son of God, and he that was the Son of God 
was truly the Son of man ; and by virtue of this union there was a 
communion higher than all other communions ; the fulness of grace 
was subjectively and inherently in his human nature : He was 
anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, Ps. xlv. 7. And 
he is said, John iii. 34, to receive the Spirit without measure, both 
for the essence and virtue of it, to all effects and purposes, for himself 
and others ; so that there needed nothing to be added to his full happi- 


ness. Christ was comprehensor ; he perfectly knew upon earth what 
we shall know in heaven, and was perfectly holy and perfectly good. 

[2.] The glory of his office was to be mediator between God and 
man ; an office of so high a nature that it could be performed by none 
but him who was God and man in the same person ; for he that 
would be mediator was to be prophet, priest, and king. As a prophet, 
he was to be arbiter, to take knowledge of the cause and quarrel 
depending between them ; and as an internuncius and legate, to pro 
pound and expound the conditions of peace that are to be concluded 
upon. As he was a priest, he was to be an intercessor, to make inter 
pellation for the party offending ; and then to be ajidejussor, or surety, 
making satisfaction to the party offended for him. As he was a king, 
having all power both in heaven and earth, he was to keep and present 
the church of God so reconciled in the state of grace, and to tread 
down all enemies thereof. Here is a great deal of glory far above any 

2. What he wanted, that he should pray to be glorified. The glory 
of his person and office was yet but imperfect. 

[1.] Of his person in both natures, it is said, Phil. ii. 7, He made 
himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and 
was made in the likeness of man, e/cevwo-ev eavrbv ; he made himself 
empty and void, not simply and absolutely, for then he would cease to be 
himself, and then he would cease to be God ; but economically and dis- 
pensatively, veiling and covering his godhead under the cloud of his flesh, 
the beams of his divinity, as it were, wholly laid aside, only now and then 
it broke out in his works and speeches. Certainly he abstained from the 
full use and manifestation of it. He did not cease to be what he was, 
but laid aside the manifestation of it, and hid it in the form of a 
servant, as if he had none at all. The world could not discern him ; 
to his own familiar friends he was now and then discovered, as occa 
sion did require it. Otherwise in his whole course, his incarnation, 
nativity, obedience to the law of nature, to the law of Adam, law of sin, 
of Abraham, were a veil upon him. He suffered hunger, thirst, weari 
ness, bitter agonies, shame o f the cross, pain of death, ignominy of the 
grave ; yea, he was not only in the form of a servant to God This 
commandment have I of my Father/ John vi. 38 but he was subject 
to worldly powers, a servant of rulers/ Isa. xlix. 7, wholly at their dis 
pose. His human nature was subject to natural infirmities, hunger, 
thirst, fear, sorrow, anguish ; he had not attained incorruption, im 
passibility, immortality, nor that glorious purity, strength, agility, 
clarity of body, which he expected, Phil. iii. 21, together with the ful 
ness of inward joys and comforts in his soul. He lost, for a while, all 
sense and actual fruition of his Father s love : Mat. xxvi. 46, My God, 
my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? So that though he had the 
Spirit without measure in holiness, and righteousness, yet he was still 
humbled with unpleasing and afflictive evils. 

[2.] For his office. It was managed as suited with his humiliation, 
and all his actions of prophet, priest, and king, could not be performed 
gloriously, but in a humble manner, as suited with his present state. 
He was an ordinary prophet, teaching in the world ; as a priest, hang 
ing on the cross ; as a king, but he had but few subjects ; therefore it 

VER. 5.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 191 

is said, Acts v. 31, Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be 
a prince and a saviour/ as if he had not exercised any of his kingly 
office before, but he was but as a king anointed ; he did not so evidently 
show forth the kingly office as afterward. Now he doth not overcome 
his enemies by force or by power. 1 Sam. xvi. 13 : David was a king 
as soon as anointed, but for a long time he suffered exile and wandered 
in the wilderness before he was taken into the throne ; so it was with 

Secondly, His exaltation. What Christ prayed for might be known 
by the event. His exaltation begun at his resurrection, and received 
its accomplishment by his sitting at God s right hand. His exaltation 
answered his humiliation, his death was answered by his resurrection, 
his going into the grave by his ascending into heaven, his lying in the 
grave by his sitting at God s right hand, which is a privilege proper 
to Christ glorified. In the other we share with him, we rise, we ascend, 
but we do not sit at God s right hand. By his grave, though his body 
was freed from corruption, his human nature was discovered, but his 
body had not those glorious qualities as afterwards at his ascension. 

Therefore, leaving his resurrection, let us speak of his ascension, 
and sitting on the right hand of God. 

1. His ascension. Three things happened to Christ at his ascension. 
[1.] The exaltation of his body and human nature ; it was locally 

taken from the earth, and carried into heaven : Acts i. 9, While they 
beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight, 
into the same heaven into which we shall be translated. They err 
who say that Christ s ascension standeth in this, that Christ is invisibly 
present everywhere, which destroyeth the properties of a body. There 
was not only a change of state, but a change of place ; it was a created 
nature, still finite. 

[2.] The glorification of his person, which is the thing spoken of in 
this text ; then all the thick mists and clouds which eclipsed his deity 
were removed. Not that there was any deposition or laying aside of 
his human nature ; that is an essential part of his person, and shall 
continue so to all eternity ; but only of all human infirmities. He 
laid aside his mortality at his resurrection, and necessity of meat and 
drink, but was not restored to his glory till his ascension ; his body 
was so bright, that it shall pass though the air like lightning, clearer 
than the sun. Upon the earth he was ignorant of something of the 
day of judgment; now he hath all wisdom, not only in habit, but in 
act. Before he grew in wisdom, which he manifested by degrees ; 
now the glory of his deity shineth forth powerfully. 

[3.] A new qualification of his office. Christ hath exercised the 
mediatory office from the beginning of the world till now, before his 
coming in the flesh, when on earth, and after his ascension. 

2. The next thing we are to speak of in the glorification of Christ 
is his sitting at God s right hand : Ps. ex. 1, The Lord said unto my 
Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy foot 
stool. It is Christ s welcome as soon as he came to heaven. The 
angels guarded and attended him, and they brought him near the 
ancient of days : Dan. vii. 13, I saw in the night visions, and behold, 
one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to 


the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. They, 
that is, the angels did it, they are his ministers : Heb. i. 6, 7, When 
he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all 
the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who 
maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire/ He 
cometh royally attended. Then the Father welcometh him with, 
Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thy inheritance, and 
the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession, Ps. ii. 8. As mediator, 
Christ was to have a grant of the kingdom by pleading his right, and 
then God seateth him on the throne, Sit thou on my right hand, Ps. 
ex. 1. God doth, as it were, take his Son by the hand, and seat him 
on the throne. 

This sitting on God s right hand implieth 

[1.] The giving of all power, or a restoration of him to the full use 
of the godhead. He had an eternal right, as the second person, but 
he was to receive a new grant : Mat. xxviii. 18, All power is given 
to me in heaven and in earth. Christ, as God, hath all power, equal 
power with the Father by eternal generation ; but as God incarnate, 
it is given to him. So Phil. ii. 9, 10, Wherefore God also hath 
highly exalted him, and given him a name above every name, that at 
the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things 
in earth, and things under the earth ; to make all enemies stoop to 
him, that he might receive adoration from angels, men, and devils. 

[2.] A grant of authority to rule according to pleasure. He is 
made prince of angels : Col. ii. 10, He is the head of all principality 
and power ; he is to be their sovereign Lord, and head of the church, 
Eph. i. 22. Christ is to us the head of all vital influences, and judge 
of the world : Acts xvii. 39, He hath appointed a day, in which he 
will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath 
ordained, whereof he hath given assurance to all men, in that he hath 
raised him from the dead. This is the sum of Christ s glorification. 

The uses of the whole. 

Use 1. In that Christ prayeth for glory, it presseth us 

1. To take heed of dishonouring Christ, now he prayeth to be 
glorified. It was a great sin that the Jews crucified the Lord of 
glory ; but they have some excuse, in that they knew not what they 
did : 1 Cor. ii. 8, Whom none of the princes of this world knew ; (or 
had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 
His glory was not easily seen in his exinanition and abasement. But 
now we know more, and we cross his prayers, if we crucify him again 
afresh, and put him to open shame, Heb. vi. 6. We cannot indeed 
crucify Christ really, but we may draw the guilt of his enemies that 
crucified him upon us. By your scandalous lives, you do in effect, as 
to your intentions, deprive him of his glory, and approve the act of 
the Jews against him ; you live as if no such thing had been done to 
Christ as his translation into heaven. 

2. Since Christ so earnestly sued for his glorification, it is our duty, 
by all means, to procure and further his glory. We cannot do any 
thing as his Father doth ; we cannot bestow anything upon him but 
praise, and magnify him by a steadfast faith, and by a holy life. 
Mortified Christians are the glory of Christ. 

VER. 5.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 193 

3. It is comfort against the reproaches and oppositions of men as to 
the kingdom of Christ. Though the Jews scorn it, the Turks blas 
pheme it, heretics undermine it, yet Christ s prayers will do more than 
all their endeavours ; still he will appear God manifest in the flesh. 
Christ s glory cannot be hindered, he hath prayed for it. 

Use 2. In that Christ was glorified (for he cannot be denied what 
ever he demands), it is useful for our comfort, for our instruction. 

1. For our comfort. 

[1.] Christ s glorification is the pledge and earnest of ours. Had 
not he risen and ascended, and been received up into glory, neither 
we ; the gates of death had been barred upon us, and the gates of 
heaven shut against us, and we should have been covered with eternal 
shame and ignominy. But now Christ, like another Samson, hath 
broken through the gates, and carried them away with him, our head 
is risen, and we in him, we receive of his fulness, glory for glory, as 
well as grace for grace. Nobis dedit arrhabonem spiritus, et a nobis 
recepit arrhabonem carnis. We have livery and seisin of the king 
dom of heaven already in Christ. We are ascended with him : Eph. 
ii. 6, And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in 
heavenly places in Christ Jesus. In contracts, pledges are usually 
taken and given. Our head is crowned, and shall not the members ? 
The human nature is already placed in the highest seat of glory. 

[2.] It is a sign God hath received satisfaction. The Lord sent an 
angel to remove the stone, not to supply any power in Christ ; but as 
a judge, when he is satisfied, sends an officer to open the prison doors. 
Our surety is delivered out of prison with glory and honour, God hath 
taken him up to himself. What is done to our surety concerneth us. 
Christ hath perfectly done his work, there is no more to be done by 
way of satisfaction. God was well pleased with him, or else he had 
not been at his right hand. Certainly all the work of his mediation 
was not accomplished on earth, he is now in exaltation, performing 
those other offices that remain to be fulfilled by him in heaven. 

[3.] Hence we have confidence in his ability to do his people good. 
He is now restored to the full use and exercise of the godhead ; he can 
give the Spirit, and perform all the legacies of the covenant. There 
were many repaired to Christ in the days of his flesh, when he was 
under poverty, crosses, death ; the thief on the cross said, Lord, 
remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. What shall we 
not expect now he is entered into glory ? Faithful servants follow 
their prince in banishment, but they have greater encouragement when 
he is on the throne. Those that adhered to David in the desert might 
look for much from him crowned at Hebron: Acts ii. 33, Therefore 
being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the 
Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which 
ye now see and hear. Not that then only he was endowed with the 
gifts of the Spirit ; for whilst he was on earth, he was filled with the 
Spirit without measure ; but then he received the accomplishment of 
the promise, of pouring out the Spirit upon us ; for by promise is 
meant the accomplishment of the promise, for the promise was long 
before : Luke xxiv. 49, And behold, I send the promise of my Father 
upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem till ye be endued with 

VOL. x. N 


power from on high; Acts i. 4, And being assembled together with 
them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, 
but wait for the promise of the Father/ When he came to heaven, 
he received the fulfilling of this promise; for God did not bring 
Christ into heaven, as we are brought into heaven, merely to rest from 
labour, and to enjoy the reward of glory, but that, he might sit in the 
throne of majesty and authority, to have power to send the Spirit, and 
gather the church, and condemn the world, and to apply to all the 
elect the privileges that he had purchased for them. There are effects 
of Christ crucified, and there are effects of Christ raised and exalted : 
Ps. Ixviii. 18, Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity 
captive, thou hast received gifts for men ; yea, for the rebellious also, 
that the Lord God might dwell among them. He gave gifts when he 
ascended, as kings do at their coronation. The humiliation of Christ 
hath its effects, in fulfilling the curses of the law, pacifying God s wrath 
and justice, the annihilation of the right which the devil had in elect 
sinners, purchasing a right of returning to God, and enjoying the grace 
of eternal life. The exaltation of Christ hath its effects, viz., the ap 
plication of this righteousness, and to possess us of this right. When 
Christ was dead, it was lawful for those for whom he died to return to 
God, and enjoy his grace ; but it was not possible, for they were dead 
in sins. Therefore God raised up Christ, and gave him authority to 
pour out the Holy Ghost, that we should seek in grace, not only the 
force of satisfaction, but of regeneration ; that the effect of his abase 
ment, this of his advancement. What a comfort this is, that Christ 
would not only die for us, but rise again, and pour out his Spirit, that 
his blood might not be without profit! 

[4.] Here is comfort for the church ; while our head is so highly 
magnified, and made Lord of all, he will rule all for the best; certainly 
no good shall be wanting to them that are his : Ps. ex. 1, The Lord 
said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine 
enemies thy footstool/ There shall come a time when the church 
shall have no enemies, so far shall it be from its being overcome by 
its enemies, that they shall curse themselves that ever they resisted the 

[5.] Our sins shall not prejudice our happiness, seeing he sitteth at 
the right hand of God the Father to be our intercessor: 1 John ii. 1, If 
any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the 
righteous. We have a friend at court, a favourite in the court of 
heaven. If it were not for Christ s intercession, what should we do ? 
Those that know the majesty of God, their own unworthiness, the 
pollution of their prayers, what should they do ? The Spirit is our 
notary here : Korn. viii. 26, The Spirit helpeth our infirmities ; for 
we know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh 
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And 
Christ is our advocate in heaven : Kev. viii. 3, And another angel 
came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was 
given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers 
of all saints, upon the golden altar which was before the throne. Our 
prayers have an ill savour as they come from us. 

2. For our instruction. It teacheth us to seek heavenly things : 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 195 

Col. iii. 1, If ye then be risen with Christ, seek the things that are 
above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God; Phil, iii 20, 
Our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, 
our Lord Jesus Christ/ We should imitate Christ ; whatever he did 
corporally, we must do spiritually. There is our treasure ; if you are 
the children of God, he is your delight. There is our head ; the in 
ferior parts never do well when they are severed from the head. All 
that we expect cometh from thence, and therefore a natural desire of 
happiness carrieth the saints thither. 


/ have manifested tliy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of 
the icorld : thine they were, and thou gavest them me ; and they 
have kept thy tvord. JOHN XVII. 6. 

WE have now ended the first paragraph of this chapter, Christ s 
prayer for himself. Here he cometh to pray for others, the disciples 
of that age. When Jacob was about to die, he blesseth his sons ; so 
doth Christ his disciples. Christ representeth their case with as much 
vehemency as he doth his own. 

In this verse he useth three arguments they were acquainted with 
his Father s name, belonged to his grace, and were obedient to his will. 
Or, if you will, you may observe 

1. The persons for whom he prayeth. 

2. The reasons why he prayeth for them ; which are three : (1.) 
What Christ had done ; (2.) What the Father himself had done; (3.) 
What they had done. 

First, The persons for whom he prayeth, The men which thou hast 
given me out of the world. Who are these ? I answer The disciples 
or believers of that age ; not only the eleven apostles are intended, 
though chiefly ; but it is not to be restrained to the apostles only. 

1. Because the description is common to other believers; others 
were given him besides the eleven apostles. It is the usual descrip 
tion of the elect in this chapter, ver. 2, That he should give eternal 
life to as many as thou hast given him. So ver. 9, I pray for them 
whom thou hast given me, for they are thine ; and ver. 24, Father, I 
will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am ; 
and in other chapters of this Gospel. 

2. Because Christ had made known the name of God to more than 
the apostles ; many of the Jews and Samaritans had received the faith. 
Acts i. 15, there a hundred and twenty met together in a church 
assembly presently after Christ s death. 

3. Otherwise they had been forgotten in Christ s prayer ; for after 
wards he prayeth only for future believers : ver. 20, Neither pray I 
for them only, but for those that shall believe on me through their 
word. Mark, that shall believe/ But though the apostles are not 
only intended, yet they are chiefly intended, as appeareth by that 
expression, through their word/ We have seen who are the persons. 


Now they are described to be the men which the Father hath given 
me out of the world. Men, to note the greatness of the blessing; 
though they were frail, miserable men, corrupt by nature, as others 
are, yet by singular mercy they are made familiar friends of Christ, 
and some of them doctors of the world. 1 Which thou hast given me 
by way of special charge. There is a double giving to Christ by way 
of reward, by way of charge : these were given to him as a peculiar 
charge. Out of the world ; that is, out of the whole mass of man 
kind : when others were left and passed by, God singled them out, and 
gave them to Christ. 

I shall open the phrase more fully in the next clause. 

The points of doctrine are these : 

1. Observe, in the business of salvation Christ would deal with us 
not by angels, but by men given him out of the world, that is the 
description of the apostles and doctors of the church in the text. 
To us he hath committed the word of reconciliation. God could 
teach us without pastors, and manifest himself unto us by inward and 
secret illapses into the heart ; but he useth the ministry of men, and 
that not out of indigence, but indulgence ; not for any efficacy in the 
preacher, but for congruence to the hearer, as a means most agreeable 
to our frail state. There is mercy in this appointment. 

[1.] It is most for the glory of God. God s honour cometh freely 
from us when the instruments are vile and despicable. We are apt to 
sacrifice to the next hand. Acts xiv., they brought oxen and garlands 
to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas. 2 Cor. iv. 7, We have this trea 
sure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of 
God, and not of us. These are most apt to rival God, as children 
thank the tailor. 

[2.] It trieth our obedience. We look for extraordinary miracles 
and ways of revelation ; God would see if we can love truth for truth s 
sake, rather than for the teacher s sake, and take it from the meanest 
hand. It is not who, but what is delivered. Foolish man would give 
laws to God. Christ impersonateth our thoughts : Luke xvi. 30, If 
one went to them from the dead, they will believe. Had Christ 
come in person, spake to us in an audible voice, or sent an angel, they 
would believe. Foolish thoughts 1 God trieth you by Moses and the 
prophets. It is a deceit to think if we had more glorious means it 
would be otherwise with us. Christ came in disguise : John i. 11, He 
came unto his own, and his own received him not ; and the word 
is brought to us in earthen vessels. It is merited by God-man, it is 
dispensed by the power of God by man. 

[3.] It is the most rational way. He doth not rule us with a rod of 
iron, by mere power and majesty, but draweth us by the cords of 
a man, by counsels and exhortations. He dealeth with us by those 
with whom we have ordinary converse, as a man with his friend, 
Exod. xxxiii. 11. What should sinners do if God should come and 
thunder to them in majesty and glory ? Exod. xx. 19, Let not the 
Lord speak to us. He veileth it under the cloud of human weakness. 
There is no conversing with the terribleness of majesty but by inter 
mediate persons. Men speak to us that have a feeling of our infirmi- 

: Qu. "word"? ED. 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 197 

ties. Prophets are opoioTradels, Men of like passions with ourselves, 
James v. 17. If angels should teach us, we would think the precepts 
too strict for men. Men know how to speak to us by speaking from 
the heart to the heart : Prov. xxvii. 19, As face answereth face in 
a glass, so doth the heart of man to man. There may be lesser 
differences in regard of complexion and constitution, but they know 
the general nature of man. 

[4.] It is the surest way. If men deceive us, they deceive them 
selves ; we have experience of their fidelity in other things, and they 
confirm it by their own practice. They are subjected to the law of 
the same duties and necessities, sometimes seal the truth with their 

[5.] It is a comfortable way. Paul, a great sinner before conver 
sion, Peter, a great instance of the infirmities and falls of the saints, 
yet, from their own experience of the power and comfort of the gospel, 
preach it to us. Well, then, scorn not God s institution, but admire 
the wisdom of it. We are bound to submit, though we could see 
nothing but folly : 1 Cor. i. 21, It pleased God by the foolishness of 
preaching to save them that believe. 

2. Observe, again, it is a special privilege to be chosen to privileges 
of grace when others are passed by : Given me out of the world. 

[1.] There is a world of others, and they are left to themselves. 
Christ hath not the tithe of mankind : Jer. iii. 14, One of a city, and 
two of a tribe/ Christ doth not take them by dozens or hundreds, but 
by ones and twos. Grace falls on few. Christ seeketh out the elect, 
if but one in a town. 

[2.] They were as eligible as we, only we were singled out by mere 
grace. The lot might have fallen upon them as well as upon you ; 
thousands in the world were as eligible : Ezek. xviii. 4, Behold all 
souls are mine ; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is 
mine. All were made by the same God out of the same mass of 
nothing : he is equally judge of all ; all had sinned. Thy soul was 
as polluted as theirs, as liable to God s judgment, as deep in the same 
condemnation ; yet such was his good-will and pleasure, to single us 
out. This is the glory of his grace, misercibor cujus misertus fuero: 
Mai. i. 2, 3, Was not Esau Jacob s brother ? saith the Lord, yet I 
loved Jacob, and I hated Esau/ Though all men be equal in them 
selves, yet mercy can make a distinction. The best reason is God s 
good pleasure. Well, then, apply this. 

(1.) Look to the distinction. How many steps of election may we 
walk up ? That we were not toads and serpents, but men, the same 
nothing was as pliable ; not men only, but Christians, within the pale 
of the church ; not Christians at large, but born there, where the mists 
and fogs of popery were dispelled ; nor Protestants at large, but called 
to a stricter profession ; still in every degree multitudes were cut off. 
That I was not a Christian, but a minister, an officer in the church : 
1 Tim. i. 12, He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry/ 
Plato gave thanks for three things that he was a man, not a woman ; 
a Grecian, not a barbarian ; not an ordinary Greek, but a philosopher. 
A Christian may much more give thanks. 

(2.) To the reason of this distinction : John xiv. 22, TL 


How is it that thou wilt manifest thyself to us, and not unto the 
world ? Luke i. 43, And whence is this to me, that the mother of 
my Lord should come unto me ? When you have searched all you 
can, you must rest in Christ s reason : Mat. xi. 26, Even so, Father, 
for so it seemed good in thy sight. God s supremacy over all things 
in heaven and in earth maketh him free to choose or refuse whom he 
pleaseth. It is not because you were better disposed than others; 
many of a better temper were passed by : God raised up a habitation 
to the Spirit put of crabbed knotty pieces. A man in a wood leaveth 
the crooked timber for fuel. The young man that went away sad was 
of such a sweet natural temper, that it is said, Christ loved him. 

Secondly, Let us now come to the reasons why he prayeth for them. 

First, What he did : I have manifested thy name to them ; in 
which Christ intimateth his own faithfulness and their future useful 
ness. His own faithfulness ; for this was one way of Christ s glorifying 
his Father on earth, by communicating the tenor of the Christian 
doctrine to the disciples ; so that some of them by the light received 
were to be special instruments of converting the world. Efavepacra, 
I have manifested ; by outward teaching, and inward illumination. 
Outward teaching was necessary ; the mystery of the gospel was but 
sparingly revealed by former prophets ; but Christ, who was in the 
bosom of the Father, knew the depth and bottom of it. John i. 18, 
* No man hath seen God at any time ; the only-begotten Son, who is 
in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him ; and accordingly 
he revealed it to the disciples. And besides, by an inward light he 
gave them to understand it ; for Christ preached publicly, but all did 
not understand him, but those to whom it was given to know the 
mysteries of the kingdom of God/ Mat. xiii. 11. So much is intimated 
in the word e^avepcoaa. And herein Christ fulfilled that prophecy, 
Ps. xxii. 22, I will declare thy name unto my brethren. The dis 
ciples of Christ, especially the apostles, are adopted into the privileges 
of co-heirs with Christ, and therefore to them he declared his Father s 
name, than* which there could not be a greater privilege. Now by the 
name of God, some understand one thing, some another, according to 
the different acceptations of the word name. Largely, and more 
generally, we may understand, whatever is necessary to be known and 
believed to salvation concerning God s will and essence ; that is his 
name ; all by which the Father might be known, as men are known 
and distinguished by their names. The meaning is, that he had made 
known to them the whole doctrine concerning God s will and essence, 
teaching them that in one essence of God there are three distinct 
persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; that the Father begot the Son, 
his substantial image, by eternal generation, and sent him in time, that 
he might take a true human nature on him, that so he might become 
a mediator between God and us, by whom alone we have access to God, 
that we may obtain grace and life eternal. Now this he manifested in 
his doctrine, in the course of his life, and by the light of the Spirit, 
freeing them from all prejudices, contracted by their own darkness, or 
the obscure doctrine that was then taught in the church. 

1. Observe Christ s faithfulness to his own charge. He opened all 
the mysteries of God s name, that is, of the true religion to them. 

VEB. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 199 

We that are ministers, and you that are masters of families, should 
learn of him. It is our duty to teach the flock committed to our 
charge : Acts xx. 20, I kept back nothing that was profitable to you, 
teaching you publicly, and from house to house. We are to draw out 
all the truths necessary to salvation. It is not enough that ministers 
live honestly and unblamably, that they are hospitable and kind, but 
they must teach the people to read God s name. If you hire a man 
to prune the vineyard and he diggeth in the field, to fight in the battle 
and he watcheth the stuff, it is not the work you set him about. So 
to you that are masters of families; the apostles were Christ s own 
family ; God expecteth it from you : Gen. xviii. 19, I know him, that 
he will command his children, and his household after him, and they 
shall keep the way of the Lord. Do not disappoint the Lord ; he 
reckoneth upon it ; your family should be a little flock, a little church. 
Families are the fountains of church and commonwealth. Oh ! how 
sweet will it be when we come to die, if we could say, as Christ, we 
concerning our flock, you concerning your families, I have manifested 
thy name to them that thou gavest me out of the world ; thine they 
were, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word. 

2. Observe the earnest desire Christ had to glorify his Father, by 
living, teaching, dying ; thy name, thy word. Oh ! that we would 
learn of our Lord to glorify our Father which is in heaven ; to be 
contented to do anything, to be anything, so we might be to the glory 
of God ! ; 

3. Observe the excellency of the doctrine of the gospel ; its certainty, 
its clearness. 

[1.] Its certainty. It is not a doctrine forged in the brain of men, 
but brought out of the bosom of God into the breasts of the apostles, 
and from them conveyed to us. In this word you have the Father s 
heart ; Christ told it the apostles : I have manifested thy name to 
them, &c. Christ is the original author : Heb. i. 2, In these last 
times he hath spoken to us by his Son. The Son of God is the first 
man in the roll of the New Testament prophets ; the first was not an 
angel, but God s own Son, the messenger of the covenant, the apostle 
of our confession. Though Christ doth not speak to us immediately 
in person, yet he spake to us by the apostles ; they have their light 
from Christ. Therefore he that readeth the word should seem to hear 
Christ speak. This was that which he whispered to the apostles in 

[2.] The clearness of the scriptures. Christ knew all the counsels 
of God, and he hath manifested his name to the apostles. There is a 
light shining ; if we see it not, it is a sign we are lost : 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4, 
If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost ; in whom the 
god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, 
lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, 
should shine unto them/ What an advantage have we above the 
Gentiles and above the Jews ! 

(1.) Above the Gentiles. The doctrine of the essence and will of God 
cannot be known by the light of nature. Somewhat of his glory shineth 
in the creatures : Kom. i. 20, For the invisible things of him from the 
creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things 


that are made, even his eternal power and godhead. Some characters 
there are in conscience, though horribly defaced ; but alas ! the furthest 
reach of nature cometh short of salvation. Nature is blind as well as 
Jame in things supernatural; there are some few remains of light to keep 
the law of nature alive in the soul, for the advantage of civil society and 
moral business. When nature putteth on the spectacles of art, still 
she is blind. There are many inventions to polish reason ; to sharpen 
discourse, there is logic ; for language, rhetoric ; for government and 
equity, laws ; for health, physic ; for manners, ethics ; for societies of 
men, politics ; for families, economics ; but for worship, nothing ; their 
piercing wits were there blunt. Man is naturally wise for everything 
but to maintain a respect between him and God. They knew there 
was a God, and that this God ought to be worshipped ; but what he 
was, and how he should be worshipped, they knew not ; their knowledge 
was rather a mist than a light. His works told them that he was 
wise, powerful, and good ; but they were unhappy in their determina 
tion of his worship ; they sat abrood, and proved but fools : They 
professed themselves to be wise, but became fools, Kom. i. 22. While 
they intended him honour, they carved to him the greatest contempt ; 
whilst they would express him in the image of the creatures, they 
dishonoured him. Natural light is but small in itself, and corruption 
maketh it less. They knew nothing of the misery of man and the 
remedy by Christ ; our fall in Adam, original sin, and the work of 
redemption were mysteries to them ; they could not dream of these 
things ; when they were revealed they counted them foolishness. They 
spoke of virtue as a moral perfection ; of vice, as a stain of nature ; 
but nothing of righteousness and sin, as relative to the covenant of 
God. God used the heathen as instruments to put nature to the 
highest extent. How may we pity them that they could go no further, 
and admire God s mercy to us that we, being weaker than they in 
natural gifts, are yet stronger in grace ; that a boy out of a catechism 
should know more than they ! Their misery was great in abusing the 
light of nature ; our misery will be greater, and damnation double, if 
we abuse the light of nature and grace. 

(2.) Above the Jews, whom God acquainted with his statutes above 
all other nations. They knew little of the name of God in comparison 
of what we know. Therefore Moses desires to know God s name, 
Exod. iii. 13 ; and it is said, Judges xiii. 18, Why askest thou after 
my name, seeing it is secret? The divine glory was hidden and 
under a veil. In those appearances of Christ little was known in 
respect of what was known at his incarnation. It is spoken in reference 
to the present dispensation. Some notice they had of this mystery. 
God acquainted them with his name by degrees : as Exod. vi. 3, I 
appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of 
God Almighty ; but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them/ 
God had made himself known by other names ; to the fathers by the 
name of God Almighty ; the name Jehovah, that should be an appel 
lation among his gathered people, giving a being to his people, and 
making good his promises. Afterwards, I am the God of Abraham, 
the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob/ as more relating to the covenant. 
Afterwards, Jer. xxiii. 5, 6, I will raise up to David a righteous 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvu. 201 

branch, this is the name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR 
KIGHTEOUSNESS. Then God will be known by his grace, justifying 
his people, and accepting them for Christ s sake. But in the New 
Testament all is open and clear ; he is called { the God and Father of 
our Lord Jesus Christ/ Eph. i. 5. Then God the Father and the 
mediator were clearly made known. Alas ! the Jewish church knew 
little of the doctrine of the Trinity, the distinction of the persons, the 
quality of the mediator, the way of salvation. What they knew was 
obscured, and the doctrine of the Messiah horribly depraved. 

Use. Let us bless God for the word, and take heed unto it, as to a 
light shining in a dark place. What would be our condition if we had 
not the scriptures among us ? We should be no better than savages in 
the wilderness, or as the body without the soul, the earth without the 
sun. God might immediately have revealed himself to man ; he that 
made the heart can enstamp it with the knowledge of his will ; but he 
would state his doctrine into a settled course, that we might not coin 
oracles to ourselves, or obtrude fancies on others : We have \6yov 
fiefiaiorepov, a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that 
ye take heed, as to a light that shineth in a dark place/ 2 Peter i. 19. 
He knoweth to what liberty we incline in preaching divine things. No 
more 7roXv/iepw<? /cat TroXurpoTro)? of those divers ways and manners, 
wherewith God spake in times past to our fathers by the prophets/ 
Heb. i. 1. After the closing of a perfect canon there needed nothing 
but ordinary revelation. This is sufficient to salvation, if there were 
no book else ; if the world were full of books, and this only were want 
ing, there were no certain way nor rule to heaven. Here is God s 
heart discovered to us, and our hearts to ourselves ; it is a ray of the 
face of God in Christ : John i. 18, No man hath seen God at any time ; 
the only-begotten Son of God, that lay in the bosom of the Father, he 
hath declared him. Satan hath been ever maligning this light, that 
he might more securely domineer in the world. Christ undertook he 
would declare God s name to his brethren, and here he hath done it. Oh ! 
let it come with divine authority upon your hearts, in all the precepts, 
promises, threatenings of it, that you may come to a nearer sight of 
God and yourselves. 

4. Observe the necessity of a divine light before we can understand 
the things of God : I have manifested thy name/ &c. 

[1.] There must not only be an outward sure rule of doctrine, but 
an inward light. We can have no savoury apprehensions of the things 
of God till Christ himself become our teacher ; the Son of God must 
always be the interpreter of his Father s will ; he is the Word that 
speaketh to the heart. All men by nature are ignorant of the name of 
God, without any saving knowledge : Eph. v. 8, Ye were sometimes 
darkness ; not only in the dark, but darkness itself ; but now ye are 
light in the Lord ; that is, enlightened by his Spirit. This is proper 
to the elect, those who are given to him. The church is Christ s open 
school, the scriptures our book, the ministers are the ushers, and Christ 
is the inward teacher. Some are only taught by the ministers, others 
are taken aside and taught by Christ himself in private. His public 
lectures are read to all hearers, but the elect are taught of God : John 
vi. 68, Lord, to whom shall we go ? thou hast the words of eternal 


life. Others may hear the word, but they perish in their own blind 
ness and unbelief. Some play the truants in Christ s school ; they will 
not hear, they pass judgment on themselves : Acts xiii. 48, As many 
as were ordained to eternal life believed. The whole city was met to 
hear, but none believed but the elect ; and the apostle doth not say, 
As many as believed were ordained to eternal life, but as many as 
were ordained believed. It is not given to all : Mat. xiii. 11, It is 
given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to 
them it is not given. All the difference is in the will of God ; so that 
the scholars in this kind are the called according to his purpose. 
Christ s teaching is of no larger extent than his Father s election. Some 
schoolmasters, besides their common care, do teach such children apart 
as they love most, they take them and point with the finger ; so doth 
Christ manifest himself to those that are given him out of the world by 
the inward work of his grace. Moral suasion is common to all, but he 
taketh some aside and worketh on their hearts. 

[2.] For the manner of this teaching ; it is accompanied with force 
and power. There is always an operation that goeth along with this 
teaching : John vi. 44, 45, No man can come to me except the Father 
that hath sent me draw him. It is written in the prophets, They shall 
be all taught of God. There is teaching and drawing ; the inspira 
tion and the impression go together. He is an incomparable teacher ; 
he giveth the lesson, and a heart to learn it ; with information he 
reformeth, and with the knowledge of our duty he giveth a will and 
power to do it. He teacheth the promise so as to make us believe it ; 
the commandment so as to make us obey it. The soul is God s echo : 
Ps. xxvii. 8, When thou sayest, Seek ye my face, my heart said unto 
thee, thy face, Lord, will I seek. He reformeth by his light, and ex- 
citeth by the power of his grace. In short, it is a powerful teaching, 
joined with an inward working. His scholars are sure of proficiency, 
for he hath their hearts in his hands, and can move them according to 
his own pleasure. There is not only an illumination of the mind, but 
a bowing of the will. Corrupt nature in man is strong enough to resist 
anything of man, as he is man. 

[3.] The necessity of this inward light ; without it the word will not 
work. Many hear outwardly that are never the better : John vi. 44, 
No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw 
him. There must be an inward light, an inward operation on the soul, 
or the word is without effect ; the heart must be opened as well as the 
scriptures. As all the multitude that thronged on Christ did not touch 
him as the diseased woman did, who touched the hem of his garment : 
Who touched me ? saith Christ, knowing that virtue had gone out 
of him, Mark v. 30. Many may come to an ordinance, but virtue 
passeth out to few. The outward minister can but speak to the ear ; 
it is Christ works grace in the heart: unless the Holy Ghost come down, 
and open the mouths of preachers to speak, and the hearts of people 
to hear, all is to no purpose. 

Use. Well, then, every time you come to the opening of the scrip 
tures, look for this inward light to shine into your hearts, that you may 
have a saving knowledge of God in Christ. Kemember you come to 
hear that doctrine which Christ hath brought down from the bosom of 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 203 

the Father, and he must bring it into your bosoms. There are two 
sorts of hearers : 

1. Some are careless, that come hither, but scarce hear the minister; 
their bodies are in the sanctuary, but their spirits are in the corners of 
the earth. Their coming is made fruitless by the wandering of their 
hearts ; they have experience of the power of Satan, not of Christ. The 
devil presenteth to their fancy such objects as carry their spirits from 
God and his. work: Ezek. xxxiii. 31, They come unto thee as the 
people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear 
thy words, but they will not do them ; for with their mouth they show 
much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. Carcases 
without a spirit are but carrion ; clothes stuffed with straw, that were a 
mocking ; so is a body present at hearing the word without a soul. 
What is the difference between an absent body and a wandering spirit ? 
God knocketh at the heart, but there is none within to hear him. 

2. Some hear the minister, but do not wait for the illumination of 
Christ, which sometimes God grants to us in the hearing of the word : 
Acts xi. 15, As I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them ; this 
is to draw us to attention : Acts xvi. 14, Whose heart the Lord 
opened, that she attended to those things that were spoken by Paul. 
When God disposeth us to hear his word attentively, he approacheth 
to us in mercy. 


I have manifested tliy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of 
the world : thine they ivere, and thou gavest them me, and they 
have kept thy word. JOHN XVII. 6. 

THE next argument is what the Father had done in and about be 
lievers ; he disposed them into the hands of Christ : Thine they 
were, and thou gavest them me. Where is (1.) His interest in be 
lievers ; (2.) His act about believers. 

First, His interest in believers : Thine they were. How is this to 
be understood ? Divers have framed divers senses ; thine by creation, 
thine by election, thine by sanctification. The Father being first in 
order of the persons, all original works are proper to him ; so creation 
is ascribed to him ; so the Lord saith, Ezek. xviii. 4, All souls are 
mine, all created by him. But this sense is not so proper to this 
place, because those for whom Christ prayed not might plead this 
interest ; so Satan is God s, the wicked and all creatures are God s. By 
election ; thine by free election, mine by special donation : 1 Peter ii. 
9, Ye are a chosen generation, a peculiar people. The first and 
highest act of grace is ascribed to him ; they are his chosen and pecu 
liar ones. These were eternally his, and by the continuation of the 
same purpose of grace they are always his. This is proper to this 
place ; only sanctification may be included, which is, as it were, an 
actual election. As by original election the heirs of salvation are dis 
tinguished from others in God s purpose and counsel, so by actual 


election they are visibly distinguished and set apart from others ; so 
Thine they were, by an excitement of thy Spirit and grace stirred up 
to follow me, and chose me in this special way of service. Sanctifica- 
tion is also ascribed to the Father : John vi. 44, No man can come 
unto me except the Father that hath sent me draw him; and Jude 1, 
To them that are sanctified by God the Father. The first effect of 
saving grace is ascribed to him, as the first rise of grace is from his love. 
I prefer the middle sense, and do only take in the latter as the effect : 
Thine they were ; they were chosen by the purposes of thy grace, and 
called, which is the effect of that grace passing upon their hearts. 

From hence 

1. Observe that Christ pleadeth interest as an argument in prayer. 
It is meet, when we come to pray to God, that we can say, We are his. 
This way would Christ endear his own disciples to the Father s respect 
and grace : Ps. cxix. 44, I am thine ; save me. The great work of 
Christians should be to discern their interest, that they may come to 
God with some confidence. Though you cannot say, I am thine, with 
respect to the purposes of his grace; yet at least you should say, I am 
thine, in your own dedication and choice. Si nosira tueri non vultis, 
et tamen vestra defenders. Many a trembling Christian dareth not 
say, He is mine ; but he is resolved to say, I am his ; that is the fitter 
argument with God. With our own souls, in our own straits, plead, 
He is mine : Ps. xlii. 11, Why art thou cast down, my soul ? 
and why art thou disquieted within me ? Hope thou in God, for I 
shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my 
God. But in prayer plead, I am his ; though you cannot plead his 
choice, plead your own resignation. Consider, it is a forcible argu 
ment. Every one will provide for his own : He is worse than an 
infidel who will not provide for his own, especially those of his own 
household. It is a comfortable argument. When we cannot speak of 
our works, we may speak of our interest : Lord, I am a sinner ; but I 
am thine : I am a poor wretch ; but I am one that would not be his 
own, unless I am thine. Oh ! but says the poor soul, if I could say 
that I am thine, one that belongeth to the purposes of thy grace, there 
were some comfort. Ans. It is sweet, when we can say mutually, I 
am my beloved s, and my beloved is mine. But are you not willing to 
choose him, though you cannot say he hath chosen you ? The choice 
of our portion discovereth our interest. Canst thou in truth of heart 
say ? Lord, I have none in heaven but thee, none upon earth that I 
desire in comparison of thee, Ps. Ixxiii. 25. If you can, in the sin 
cerity of your hearts, call God to witness this, it is sweet. Though 
thou canst not apply Christ, canst thou resign thyself ? Then we have 
the fruit of election, though we have not the sense of it. God certainly 
hath chosen us when, by the work of his grace, he maketh us choose 
him. Fallen man is not dainty in his choice, till a work of grace 
passeth upon him ; he turneth from the creator to the creature ; he saith 
to the world, Would to God thou wert mine! to riches, honours, pomp, 
Would thou wert mine! Happy is the people that are in such a case. 
It is grace turneth us from the creature back again to God ; God is 
our portion, because we are his; God cannot refuse that heart which he 
hath thus drawn to himself. 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 205 

2. Observe again, that none are given to Christ but those that were 
first the Father s: Thine they were; he had chosen them in the 
purposes of his grace, and disposed them into Christ s hands. Thine 
by election, mine by special donation. The acts of the three persons 
are commensurable, of the same sphere and latitude ; those whom the 
Father chooseth, the Son redeemeth, and the Spirit sanctifieth. The 
Father loveth none but those that are given to Christ, and Christ taketh 
charge of none but those that are loved of the Father. Your election 
will be known by your interest in Christ, and your interest in Christ 
by the sanctification of the Spirit. All God s flock are put into Christ s 
hands, and Christ leaveth them to the care of the Spirit, that they may 
be enlightened and sanctified. In looking after the comfort of elec 
tion, you must first look inward to the work of the Spirit on your 
hearts, then outward to the work of Christ on the cross, then upward 
to the heart of the Father in heaven: 1 Peter i. 2, Elect according to 
the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the 
Spirit, unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. 
There is a chain of salvation ; the beginning is from the Father, the 
dispensation through the Son, the application by the Spirit ; all cometh 
from God, and is conveyed to us through Christ, by the Spirit. 

Secondly, The Father s act about believers: Thou gavest me 

How are they given to Christ ? Things are given to Christ two 
ways by way of reward, or by way of charge. 

1. By way of reward. So all nations are. given to him by way of 
reward: Ps. ii. 8, Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thy 
inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 
He is Lord of all, Acts x. 36, even of the devils. All flesh are thus 
given to him, to be ruled by him. This donation is very large, and 
compriseth elect and reprobates. All nations are Christ s heritage in 
this sense, as well as the church. All power in heaven and in earth is 
given to him, to dispose of elect and reprobates according to his own 
pleasure. Only in this giving by way of reward there is a difference ; 
some are given to Christ at large, to be disposed of according to his 
pleasure ; others are given to him for some special ministry and service, 
as hypocrites in the church ; and so Judas was given to him, as Christ 
saith, ver. 9, Of them which thou hast given me, I have lost none but the 
son of perdition. Again, others are given to him by way of special 
and peculiar interest, to be members of his body, subjects of his king 
dom, &c. So only the elect are given to Christ; the great bargain that 
Christ drove with his Father was an interest in souls ; therefore it is 
said, Isa. liii. 10, 11, When thou shalt make his soul an offering for 
sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure 
of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of 
his soul, and be satisfied. This was all the gain that Christ reck 
oned of. 

2. By way of charge. This again is proper to the elect, who are re 
deemed, justified, sanctified, glorified. The elect are made over to 
Christ, not by way of alienation, but oppignoration ; none of them who 
are given to Christ by way of charge can miscarry : John vi. 37, All 
that the Father giveth me, shall come to me ; and he that cometh to 


me, I will in no wise cast out ; and ver. 39, This is the will of him 
that sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose none, 
but should raise it up again at the last day ; and John x. 28, 29, I 
give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall 
any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them 
me, is greater than all ; and no man is able to pluck them out of my 
Father s hand. There is Christ s faithfulness and the Father s power 
engaged, therefore this must needs be proper to the elect. 

Now, because both these ways are proper to the elect, that I observe 
is, that the Father s elect are given and committed to the Son, as his 
purchase and charge. 

First, They are given to him by way of reward. Christ, by virtue 
of his purchase, hath many relations to believers : they are given to 
him as subjects of his kingdom, as scholars of his school, as children 
of his family, as the spouse of his bosom, as the members of his body. 
All these relations I shall insist upon ; for this was the honour that 
was granted to Christ upon his obedience. It was much that Christ 
would be our king, more that he would be our master, more that he 
would be our father, more that he would be our husband, and yet 
further that he would be our head : he counted it an honour, and 
bought it at a dear rate. 

1. We are given to him to be subjects of his kingdom. Christ is 
Lord of all the world, but he prizeth no title like that of king of saints, 
Kev. xv. 3, to rule as Lord in the church ; no throne like the conscience 
of a humbled sinner. The heart is Christ s best presence-chamber ; 
he loveth to have his chair of state set there. He had an eternal right 
together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, but he would come and 
suffer and be crowned with a crown of thorns that he might have a 
new right as mediator, and have the crown of glory put upon his head 
in the church: Acts v. 31, Him hath God exalted with his right 
hand to be a prince and a saviour. The Father promised it long 
before upon bargain and contract. There is never a subject that 
Christ hath but is bought, and with the dearest price, his sovereign s 
own blood : Mat. xx. 28, He gave himself, \vrpov avrl TTO\\WV, a 
ransom for many. Many subjects die in other kingdoms that the 
prince may be seated in the throne ; but here the prince dieth for 
the subjects, that he may govern his spiritual realm with more peace 
and quietness. As the price was great, so the Father hath made him 
a large grant. 

[1.] Christ s empire is universal, and spread throughout the world. 
He properly is the catholic king ; there are no bounds and limits of 
his empire : Isa. liii. 12, Therefore will I divide him a portion with 
the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong. Some of all 
nations are given to him : Isa. xlix. 12, Behold, these shall come from 
far ; and lo, these from the north, and from the west, and these from 
the land of Sinim, north, west, south, Jews and Gentiles. The 
Jews, that are now his enemies, shall appoint to themselves a head ; 
as the tribes flocked to Hebron to crown David : Hosea i. 11, Then 
shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered 
together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out 
of the land. There is no king like Christ for largeness of command 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 207 

and territory. All monarchs have certain bounds and limits by which 
their empire is terminated ; Christ s empire runneth throughout the 
whole circuit of nature ; he hath a multitude of subjects. 

[2.] Christ s empire is eternal : Of the increase of his government 
there shall be no end, Isa. ix. 7. Kings must die, and then their 
favourites may be counted offenders. So Bathsheba said to David 
(who yet was a type of the reign of Christ), 1 Kings i. 21, When 
my lord the king shall sleep with his fathers, I and my son Solomon 
shall be counted offenders. But Christ liveth and reigneth for ever 
more. But you will say, Christ doth not reign for ever, but till he 
hath put all enemies under his feet, when he shall resign up the 
kingdom to the Father, 1 Cor. xv. 24. I answer In kingly dignity 
there are two things, regia euro, and regius honor kingly care and 
kingly honour. Kingly care, by which he ordereth and defendeth his 
subjects; and kingly honour, which he receiveth from his subjects. 
Certainly Christ shall be king for ever and ever : Luke i. 33, And 
he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom 
there shall be no end ; because he shall always be honoured and 
adored as king and mediator. He shall resign the kingdom, that is, 
that way of administration ; for when the elect are fully converted and 
sanctified, and their enemies destroyed, there will be no need of this 
care. Now thus we are given to Christ, that he might be a king 
universally and eternally. He ruleth us by a sweet covenant, he might 
rule us by power. Other kings find subjects, he maketh them. He 
might rule us, for he bought us, he hath an absolute right over us. 
As there was a covenant between the Father and Christ, so between 
Christ and the church. He propoundeth no less than a kingdom : 
Isa. x. 8, Are not my princes altogether kings ? Christ s title is by 
purchase, conquest, and consent. All Christ s subjects were vessels of 
wrath, vessels of hell, in their natural estate ; he recovered us from 
the devil by power and conquest, he bought us out of his Father s 
hands by merit and price. 

In short, concerning this kingdom, which belongeth to the second 
person, the Father appoints it, the Son merits it, the Holy Ghost as 
Christ s viceroy governs it. The Father chooseth a certain number 
of men, giveth them to Christ ; the Son dieth for these men, ransometh 
them from the grave and hell, and committeth them to be ruled and 
governed to the Spirit, as Christ s vicar ; the Spirit useth the ministry 
of men, we are the Holy Ghost s overseers, Acts xx. 28, by which 
grace is wrought, and so we are united to Christ. Our work by the 
power of the Spirit is to bring them to Christ, and Christ bringeth us 
to God the Father by his intercession and by final tradition, which is 
the last act of Christ s mediatory kingdom : 1 Cor. xv. 24, Then shall 
he deliver up the kingdom to the Father. God giveth us to Christ, 
Christ to the Spirit, the Spirit uniteth us to Christ, and Christ bringeth 
us to God. So that if we would enter into this kingdom, we must go 
to God the Father, confess thou art a traitor and rebel, desire him not 
to enter into judgment with thee, but seek to be reconciled. If thou 
thus comest to the Father, he will send thee to the Son ; as Job xlii. 
8, God biddeth the friends of Job to seek his intercession : I will not 
be pleased with you but in Christ : If I did not regard the presence 


of Jehoshaphat, I would not look to thee, nor see thee, 2 Kings iii. 
14. Go to the Son, reflect upon Christ s merit and intercession ; say, 
Lord, appear for us before thy Father ; were it not for thee he would 
not regard my face. The Son will send you to the Spirit : I cannot 
bring you to God in your impurity and rebellion ; go to the Spirit of 
my Father, that he may wash you, and purge you. Plead the promise 
of the Spirit : John xvi. 13, 14, Howbeit, when he that is the Spirit 
of truth shall come, he will guide you into all truth ; for he shall not 
speak of himself : but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, 
and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me, for he 
shall receive of mine, and shall show it to you. When we come to 
the Spirit, he will send us to Moses and the prophets ; hear them. 
The word is the rod of his strength. By the word we are gained, 
by the sacraments we take an oath of allegiance, in prayer we perform 
our homages, in alms and acts of charity we pay him tribute ; praise 
and honour are the revenues of this crown. 

Thus I have showed the title, the largeness of the grant, and the 
manner of administration. 

2. We are given to Christ as scholars in his school. He is the 
great prophet, and doctor of the church. Certainly Christ loveth the 
honour of this chair ; he counteth it an honour to be our prophet. 
It is his title, Acts iii. 22, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise 
up to you from among your brethren. Christ he came out of the 
bosom of God, to show his mind and heart ; he is called the apostle 
and high priest of our profession/ Heb. iii. 1. Christ taketh the 
titles of his own officers. Though he be Lord of the church, yet he is 
an apostle. He counteth it an honour to be a preacher of the gospel, 
God s legate a latere, the Son of God is first on the roll of gospel 
preachers. He laid the foundation of the gospel when on earth ; he 
teacheth now he is in heaven ; others teach for him. Christ counts it 
his liberty to teach ; he is to be a light to the Gentiles. He doth not 
teach the ear, but the heart ; he is still to nurture us, and bring us up. 
He is an excellent teacher ; he doth not only set us our lesson, but 
giveth us a heart to learn. The scripture is our book, but Christ is 
our master, and we shall see wondrous things if he doth but open our 

3. We are to be children of his family. A master is not so careful 
as a parent. This was the thing propounded to allure Christ to the 
work of redemption : Isa. liii. 10, He shall see his seed ; he shall 
have a numberless issue and progeny. Though all are Benonis, sons 
of sorrow, and Christ died in the birth, yet this was his privilege, He 
shall see his seed. Jesus Christ hath a great family, take it altogether : 
Rev. vii. 9, A great company which none could number, redeemed out 
of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues/ Christ is 
wonderfully pleased with the fruitfulness of his death. It is his great 
triumph at the last day, Heb. ii. 13, Behold I and the children which 
God hath given me. It is a goodly sight when Christ shall rejoice 
in the midst of them, and go with this glorious train to the throne of 
the Father. Jesus Christ is our brother and our father : by regene 
ration and the merit of the cross, our father ; but in the possession 
of heaven, our brother. We are co-heirs with him. 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 209 

4. We are given to him as the wife of his bosom. As a father 
giveth the daughter whom he hath begot to another for a spouse and 
wife, so doth God give his elect to Christ. Indeed, Christ hath bought 
her at his Father s hands ; other wives bring a dowry, but Christ was 
to buy his spouse. ,As Saul gave his daughter to David, but first he 
was to kill Goliath, and to bring the foreskins of a hundred Philistines, 
1 Sam. xvii. 25, and xviii. 25 ; so God gave Christ the church for a 
spouse, to be redeemed by his blood ; the infernal Goliath was to be 
slain. Eve was taken from Adam when he lay asleep ; so when Christ 
was a-dying, the church was. as it were, taken out of his side. He was 
willing to die that his spouse might live. Christ left his Father at his 
incarnation, his mother at his passion, to make the church his spouse, 
as a man leaveth father and mother, and cleaveth to his wife. This 
honour Christ getteth by the power of his Spirit ; it costs him long 
wooing. David had bought Michal with the danger of his life, yet he 
was fain to take her away from Phaltiel, 2 Sam. iii. 13, &c. The 
devil hath gotten Christ s spouse into his hands ; Christ by his Spirit 
is to rescue her, and oblige her to loyalty. Hereafter is the great day 
of espousals, the bride s, and the Lamb s hope. Christ s honour as well 
as our comfort is but incomplete now: Then he shall present the 
church to himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or 
any such thing, but that it should be holy, and without blemish, 
Eph. v. 27. Christ is now decking her against that time. We are to 
accomplish the months of our purification ; odours and garments are 
to be brought out of the king s treasury, Esther ii. 12. 

5. We are to be members of his body. Next to that of the Son of 
God, there cannot be a greater title than Head of the church. Poor 
creatures ! that Christ will take us into his own mystical body, to 
quicken us, enliven us, and guide us by his grace ! If he were a 
head to all things, that had been somewhat : Col. ii. 11, He is the 
head of all principality and power. But he is their head for the 
church s sake : And gave him to be the head over all things to the 
church/ Eph. i. 22, over them to us ; He counteth himself not perfect 
without us, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in 
all ; that we should be called the fulness of Christ ! He esteemeth 
himself as maimed and imperfect without us. He treateth his mysti 
cal body with the same respect as his natural ; that was raised, ascended, 
glorified ; so shall we. For the present he is grieved in our miseries, 
as well as we exalted in his glory, and so he communicates to us and 
with us. 

Use 1. Admire the love of God in this donation. 

1. Of God the Father, that he should bestow us upon his own Son. 
As Christ pleadeth it to the Father, so should we plead it to ourselves : 
we were God s, and he gave us to Christ. Electing love is the sweet 
est ; others were his as well as you : Ps. xxxvi. 7, How excellent 
is thy loving-kindness, God ! That God should cast a look on 

2. Of God the Son, that he should take us as a gift from the 
Father, and as a reward of all his services. Nothing could be more 
welcome than the tender of souls. Consider, nothing could be added 
to the greatness of him who was equal with the Father ; the privileges 

VOL. x. o 


of the incarnation were but as so many milder humiliations ; but his 
main reason was to gain an interest in souls : nothing else could bring 
Christ out of heaven into the manger, the wilderness, the cross, the 
grave. What was his reward for all his expense of blood and sweat ? 
He came from heaven, took our nature, shed his bjood ; Christ is very- 
thirsty of an interest in souls: Isa. liii. 11, He shall see of the travail 
of his soul, and shall be satisfied. This is enough ; I do not begrudge 
my pains, my temptations, my agonies. A woman safely delivered 
after sore and sharp labour, forgetteth all her past sorrow for joy of 
the birth. Christ longed till his incarnation, feasted himself with the 
thoughts of his free grace : Prov. viii. 31, Kejoicing in the habitable 
parts of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men. After 
wards he longed for his passion : Luke xii. 50, I have a baptism to be 
baptized with, and TTW? a-vvk xppat, how am I straitened till it be 
accomplished ! His delight was with the sons of men. 

3. Bless the Spirit for his attesting, witnessing, working the comfort 
of all this in all our souls. We have the Father in heaven, the Son 
on the cross, the Spirit in our hearts. We are given to Christ, but 
Christ is given to us by the Spirit ; our interest is wrought and applied 
by the Holy Ghost. It is the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, who is his executor ; he is to see Christ s will 
accomplished ; he is Christ s vicar in his kingly and prophetical office. 

Use 2. Let us consecrate and give up ourselves to Christ. Walk 
as his : 1 Cor. iii. 23, Ye are Christ s, and Christ is God s ! Look 
for all from him, by dependence on him ; be whatever you are to him, 
to his glory. You are given up to him, you are not at your own dis 
pose ; neither tongue, nor heart, nor estate is thine ; God gave it, and 
if thou art a Christian, thou hast given up thyself to him. 


I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of 
the world : thine they were, and thou gavest them me, and they 
have kept thy word. JOHN XVII. 6. 

SECONDLY, They are committed to him by way of charge 

In opening this I shall inquire 

1. Who are the persons that are thus given to Christ? 

I answer The elect, and no other. They are given to him out of 
the world, a selected company ; as in the text, Those whom thou hast 
given me ; such as shall surely and infallibly be brought to grace, and 
conducted to glory : John vi. 37, All that the Father giveth me, shall 
come to me ; and ver. 39, 40, This is the Father s will which hath 
sent me, that of all which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, 
but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of 
him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth 
on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last 
day. And can the Father s will be disappointed ? (I wonder what can 
men object against so plain a scripture !) And when they are come 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 211 

they cannot miscarry : This is the will of him that sent me, that of 
all that he hath given me, I should lose nothing ; not a leg, not a 
piece of an ear. Christ hath received a special charge. 

But you will say, It is said, John xvii. 12, Those which thou hast 
given me I have kept, and none of them .is lost but the son of perdi 
tion/ So it seemeth some may be lost which are given to Christ. 

[1.] I answer The word given is there used indefinitely, for those 
given to Christ by way of reward, as well as those given to him by 
way of charge. Hypocrites, because of their external vocation, are 
said to be given to Christ by way of ministry and service, but not by 
way of special charge. That is notable which Christ saith, John xiii. 
18, I speak not of you all, I know whom I have chosen : but that the 
scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth with me hath lift up his 
heel against me. Where he showeth plainly that one of them was 
not of the number of the elect, and should not receive the privileges 
of his especial charge ; though he was chosen to the calling of an 
apostle, yet not to eternal life. Christ knoweth the number of the 
heirs of salvation, and who only are given him by way of ministry and 
service of the church. 

[2.] I may answer by interpreting the phrase et ^ 6 vib? 1% 
aTToXeta?. The words are not exceptive, but adversative; none of 
them is lost, but the son of perdition is lost ; the words are not 
rendered except the son of perdition/ but, but the son of perdition ; 
it is not nisi, but sed. There is no exception made of Judas, as if he 
had been given to Christ, and afterward had fallen away. It is not 
nemo nisifilius perditionis, but when he had mentioned their keeping, 
he would adversatively put the losing of Judas. This phrase or man 
ner of speech is often used in scripture ; so Kev. xxi. 27, And there 
shall in nowise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever 
worketh abomination, or maketh a lie ; but they which are written in 
the Lamb s book of life ; et firj, where the words are not exceptive ; 
for then it would follow that some which work abomination should 
enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but adversative, these shall not 
enter, but others shall enter. So Mat. xii. 4, It was not lawful for 
him to eat, neither for those which were with him, but only for the 
priests ; et /*), it is not exceptive, as if the priests were of David s com 

2. What was this charge ? It will be opened by considering what 
the Father proposed concerning the elect, and what the Son under 

[1.] What the Father proposed. The words of Heaven are apprjra 
pijpaTa, unutterable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter, 
2 Cor. xii. 4. Those secret ways of discourse and communication 
between the Father and the Son are to be adored with reverence and 
deep silence, were it not that the Spirit of God hath put them into 
such forms as are suitable to those transactions and intercourses which 
are between man and man. It is usual in scripture to put the passages 
between God and Christ into speeches : Ps. xl. 6-8, Sacrifice and 
offering thou didst not desire ; mine ears hast thou opened : burnt- 
offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I 
come ; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do 


thy will, my God: yea, thy law is within my heart; Ps. ii. 8, 
Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thy inheritance, and 
the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession ; Ps. ex. 1, The Lord 
said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine 
enemies thy footstool. The Father came to Christ, and did, as it 
were, say to him, Son, I am loath that all mankind should be lost, and 
left under condemnation ; there are some whom I have chosen to be 
vessels and receptacles of my mercy and goodness ; and because I am 
resolved that my justice shall be no loser, you must take a body and 
die for them, and afterward you must see that they be converted to 
grace, justified, sanctified, guided to glory, and that not one of them 
should miscarry ; for I will take an account of you at the last day. It 
is easy to prove all these things out of scripture. That there are a 
certain definite number, see 2 Tim. ii. 19, The foundation of the 
Lord standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth those that are 
his. There is no lottery nor uncertainty in the divine decrees ; the 
number is stated, sealed ; none can add to it, or detract any one 
person that Christ received a command to lay down his life for : John 
x. 18, This commandment have I received of my Father ; for them 
only I lay down my life, viz., for my sheep. That Christ is to see 
them converted to grace : John vi. 37, All that the Father giveth me 
shall come to me ; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast 
out. And without miscarrying, guided to glory : John x. 28, 29, I 
give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall 
any pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is 
greater than all ; and none is able to pluck them out of my Father s 
hand. That Christ is to give an account of bodies and souls : John 
vi. 39, And this is the Father s will that hath sent me, that of all 
which he hath given me, I should lose nothing, but should raise it up 
again at the last day. Which accordingly he doth: Heb. ii. 13, 
Behold, I and the children which God hath given me/ 

[2.] What Christ undertook. The whole proposal of the Father : 
PS. xl. 8, Lo, I come to do thy will, God. Christ consented to all 
the articles of the eternal covenant ; not only to take a body to die, 
but to take a particular charge of all the elect ; as Judah interposed 
for Benjamin, so doth Christ for the souls committed to him : Gen. 
xliii. 9, I will be surety for him ; of my hand shalt thou require him: 
if I bring him not to thee, and set him safe in thy presence, let me 
bear the blame for ever. So doth Christ say concerning all the per 
sons that fall under his charge. If I do not see them converted, jus 
tified, sanctified, conducted to glory, count me an unfaithful undertaker, 
and let me bear the blame for ever. 

3. The ground of this charge, why the Father doth not save them 
by his own power, but committed them to the Son ? I answer 

1.] Partly in majesty ; God would not pass out grace but by a 
mediator ; and therefore, when he was resolved that he would not lose 
the whole race of mankind, but repair his image in some of them, and 
had selected whom he pleased out of the mass, yet in majesty he would 
not immediately communicate grace to them but by Christ. There is 
a difference between man in innocency and man fallen. Man in inno- 
cency had immediate communion with God ; God was present with 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 213 

his image : but now man fallen needeth a mediator ; our approaches 
to God are unhallowed, his presence to us is dreadful : 1 Cor. i. 30, 
Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made to us wisdom, 
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. The heathens were 
sensible of the necessity of intermediate powers (it is strange, you will 
say), or else what shall we make of that, 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6, For though 
there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there 
be gods many, and lords many) : but unto us there is but one God, the 
Father, of whom are all things, and we in him ; and one Lord Jesus 
Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. 

[2.] Injustice. Though God were resolved to show mercy to the 
fallen creature, yet he would carry on his act of grace in such a way 
that justice might be satisfied for sin : Kom. iii. 25, 26, Whom God 
hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare 
his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the 
forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness ; 
that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in 
Jesus. Therefore, for satisfaction of his justice, he sent his Son into 
the world, that, taking our nature on him, he might therein suffer for 
our offences, and mediate a peace between God and fallen man ; and 
that not by bare entreaty, but by satisfaction ; therefore we are given 
to Christ. I confess it is hard to say that God by any necessity of 
nature required this satisfaction ; the exercise of his justice is free, and 
falleth under no laws ; but it was most convenient to preserve a due 
sense and apprehension of the Godhead. 

[3.] In love and mercy. God was resolved that the heirs of salva 
tion should infallibly be conducted to everlasting life ; he would not 
be defeated of his purpose, and therefore would have them quickened 
by virtue of that power and life that was given to Christ. God would 
now deal with us upon sure terms, and take order sufficient for attain 
ing his end, and therefore he would not trust us with any but his own 
eternal Son, that nothing might be wanting. There is not only a 
command laid upon us, but a command and a charge laid upon Christ. 
Christ is a good depository; of such care and faithfulness, that he will 
not neglect his Father s pledge ; of such strength and ability, that 
nothing is able to wrest it out of his hands ; of such love, that no work 
can be more willing to him ; he loveth us far better than we do our 
selves, or else he had never come from heaven for our sakes ; of such 
watchfulness and care, that his eyes do always run to and fro through 
out the earth, that he may show himself strong in the behalf of them 
that trust in him. Providence is full of eyes, as well as strong of 
hand. Were we our own keepers we should soon perish ; but Christ 
is charged, who is a loving, faithful, able keeper, who is resolved to 
preserve us safe, till he doth at the last day present us to the Father. 

Use. 1. It informeth us of two things : 

1. Of the certainty of the elect s salvation. If the elect should not 
be saved, Christ should neither do his work nor receive his wages. 
How can they miscarry that are Christ s own charge ? He hath such 
power that none can pluck them out of his hands, John x. 28. He 
had need of a stronger arm than Christ that must do it. When you 
can pluck him out of the throne then he may lose his flock. He hath 


grace enough to convert them : John x. 10, I am come that they 
might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly ; and 
he hath power enough to keep them ; John x. 28, I give unto them 
eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them 
out of my hand. Shall we say that the Son, though he hath power, 
wants will ? This is blasphemy. He came down from heaven with 
this resolution : John vi. 38, I came down from heaven, not to do 
my own will, but the will of him that sent me. Now, this is the 
Father s will, that they should come, and that they should not be lost ; 
and it is meat to Christ to accomplish it : John iv. 34, My meat is 
to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Now it is 
a rule, Qui potest et vult, facit. He that can do, and will do, doth it 

2. It informeth us of Christ s distinct and explicit notice of the 

[1.] Of their persons, he knoweth the definite number, all their 
names ; he lieth in the Father s bosom, knoweth his secrets : He is 
worthy to open the book, Kev. v. 4, 5 ; and he hath a register of his 
own, wherein their names are recorded : Rev. xiii. 8, Whose names 
are not written in the Lamb s book of life. Man by man, name by 
name, they are all written there ; as the high priest carried their names 
in his breast, so doth Christ ; thy name is engraven on his heart : 
John x. 3, He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 
Clement also, with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the 
book of life, Phil. iv. 3. John, Anna, Thomas, Clement, they are 
recorded; and Christ takes such special notice of them as if there 
were none other in the world. 

[2.] Their condition and necessities, how obscure and poor soever 
they be in the account and reckoning of the world: Ps. xxxiv. 6, 
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him ! Poor soul ! he is 
liable to such temptations, overwhelmed with such troubles, he crieth 
to me to help him. It was the theology of the Gentiles, dii magna 
curant, parva negligunt that the divine powers did only take care of 
the great and weighty concernments of the world, but neglected the 
lesser : Isa. xl. 27, Why sayest thou, Jacob, and speakest, Israel, 
My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from 
my God? 

Use 2. It persuadeth us wholly and absolutely to resign up our 
selves into Christ s hands. The Father is wiser than we ; he knoweth 
well enough what he did, when he commendeth us to his Son. Let 
us give up bodies and souls to Christ, all that we have. Faith is 
often expressed by committing ourselves to Christ ; it answereth the 
trust the Father reposed in him : 1 Peter iv. 19, Wherefore, let them 
that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their 
souls to him in well-doing, as unto a faithful creator. The apostle 
knew what he did when he trusted Christ with his soul : 2 Tim. i. 12, 
I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to 
keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Is thy 
soul laid a pledge in Christ s hands ? It is no easy work. That we 
may know what it is, let me .open it a little. 

[1.] You must chiefly commit your souls to him. Most men lose 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 215 

their souls to keep the body. That which a man chiefly looketh after 
is his jewels and precious things, in a dangerous time, to commit them 
to the custody of a friend. So a Christian, whatever becometh of him 
in the world, he is careful to lay up his soul in Christ s hands, that it 
may be kept from sin and the consequents of sin. Alas ! while we 
have it in our own keeping it will soon miscarry. Now concerning 
this committing the soul to Christ, let me observe : 

(1.) That this act is most sensible in time of deep troubles and 
death, when we carry our lives in our hands, trust Christ with your 
souls : Ps. xxxi. 5, Into thy hands I commit my spirit : thou hast 
redeemed me, Lord God of truth. So Christ: Luke xxiii. 46, 
Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. Can we trust Christ, 
upon the warrant of the gospel, when troubles are nigh and fears of 
death ? Lord, take my spirit ; as Stephen, Acts vii. 59, Lord Jesus, 
receive my spirit. We must do it in our life, especially as often as 
we renew covenant; but then most sensibly when we come to die. 
Jesus Christ is always the depository of souls ; but when we come to 
die, or are in special troubles, then we are chiefly solicitous about our 
souls ; as when a house is a-burning we are not careful about our 
lumber, but run to fetch our jewels to put them in a safe hand. 

(2.) Whenever we do it, it must be an advised act. A man must 
be sensible of the danger he is in, of the many temptations to which 
he is exposed, what a sorry keeper he is of his own heart (Satan could 
fetch a prey out of paradise, Judas out of Christ s company), what 
abilities Christ hath : 2 Tim. i. 12, I know whom I have believed, 
and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have com 
mitted to him against that day/ Presumption is a child of darkness ; 
it cometh from ignorance and incogitancy. Faith is deliberate and 
advised ; a Christian can venture his soul upon Christ s grace notwith 
standing infirmities, upon Christ s power notwithstanding temptations ; 
this precious thing is daily in danger, yet I can trust it in Christ s 
hands ; he that made it can best keep it, and guide us by his grace, 
and direct us in this dangerous passage. 

(3.) It must still be accompanied with some confidence. We must 
be quieted : I am persuaded he is able to keep that which I have 
committed to him. We should not distrust when we have resigned 
ourselves to the care and tuition of his Spirit. Christ s charge will be 
safe from danger. It is our weakness to be full of doubts and fears. 
We may be assaulted, but we are safe in the Father s purpose and the 
Son s protection. Too much confidence in sanctification, and too little 
in justification, will unsettle us. 

(4.) There must be a care of obedience : Lord Jesus, receive my 
spirit. Commit your souls to him in well-doing, 1 Peter iv. 19. 
Sins will weaken trust ; an impure soul cannot be committed to 
Christ s custody. Would we commit dung to a friend to keep ? 
There must be a giving up ourselves to him in love, as well as com 
mitting ourselves to him in faith : John xii. 26, If any man serve me, 
let him follow me ; and where I am, there shall also my servant be. 

(5.) It must arise from a chief care of your souls. Most men are 
negligent herein ; they watch over their goods, but neglect their souls, 
and lose their souls to keep these trifles. What account can they 


make to God at the last day ? These live as if they had no souls, and 
can they be said to commit their souls to God ? 

2. We must give up our bodies to him, and the conveniences of the 
body, to let him dispose of us according to his pleasure. We shall 
have a body at the last day, and that body will have glory enough ; 
that falleth under Christ s charge: John vi. 39, This is the Father s 
will that hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should 
lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. He that 
cannot do the lesser, it is impossible he should do the greater ; he that 
will not trust God with his earthly substance, credit, estate, how will 
he trust God with his soul for eternal salvation ? Which is easier to 
say, Thy sins are forgiven thee, or to say, Arise, and walk? Mark 
ii. 9. It is more difficult to believe for salvation, but bodily incon 
veniences are more pressing and sensible. The welfare of the body 
must not be committed to wealth or wit, but to Christ. A Christian 
is not troubled what shall become of him ; he leaveth himself to 
Christ s disposal, which is the way to allay his cares and fears. 

Thirdly, The third argument is what they had done, in the next 
clause, They have kept thy word. Here is another reason, their 
obedience. He had mentioned what the Father had done, now what 
they had done. His ministry with them was not without success and 
fruit. This phrase, kept thy word, is very significant ; it implieth 
not only outward hearing, but knowledge : Mat. xiii. 23, He that 
receiveth the seed into good ground, is he that heareth the word and 
understandeth it, &c. Nay, not only knowledge, but assent and 
believing, embracing the promises of the gospel : Luke viii. 15, Hav 
ing heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. Not 
only assent, but the fruits of love and obedience : 1 John ii. 4, He 
that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, 
and the truth is not in him. Not only single obedience, but constant 
profession and perseverance : Prov. xvi. 20, My son, keep thy father s 
commandments, and forsake not the law of thy mother. They have 
not failed as Judas. Now there is a twofold keeping of the word a 
legal keeping and evangelical. The legal keeping is absolute and 
perfect obedience; if there be but the least failing, Moses accuseth 
and condemneth you. The evangelical keeping is filial and sincere 
obedience. Those imperfections Christ pardoneth, when he looketh 
back and seeth many errors and defects in life, as long as we bewail 
sin, seek remission, strive to attain perfection. All the command 
ments are accounted kept when that which is not done is pardoned. 

Thy word. He doth not say my word, but thine. He elsewhere 
referreth his doctrine to the Father : John vii. 16, My doctrine is not 
mine, but his that sent me. So here he mentioneth the divine autho 
rity of his doctrine. 

1. Observe, Christ speaketh good of his people to his Father. 
Satan is an accuser, he loveth to speak ill of believers ; but Christ 
telleth his Father how his lambs thrive. It is a grief to your advo 
cate when he cannot speak well of you in heaven, and say, They have 
kept thy word, I am glorified in them. How grievous is it when your 
very advocate is forced to be an accuser ! Isa. xlix. 4, I have laboured 
in vain, and spent my strength for nought. I have sent my gospel, 

VER. 6.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 217 

and it doth no good. It is Christ s complaint against the obstinacy of 
the Jews. Again, whom will you imitate, Christ or Satan ? To 
slander and accuse is the devil s property ; we should be more tender 
in divulging the infirmities of the saints ; it is the devil s work. 
Christ, when he prayeth for his enemies, he mollifieth their crime, and 
softeneth it with a gentle interpretation : Luke xxiii. 34, Father, for 
give them; they know not what they do. Christ excuseth, Satan 

2. Observe again, They have kept thy word. Christ speaketh 
good of them, though they had many failings. The disciples often 
miscarried, were of weak faith, passionate when they met with dis 
respect : Luke ix. 54, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come 
down from heaven and consume them? But Christ returneth this 
general issue, They have kept thy word; so James v. 11, Ye have 
heard of the patience of Job ; yea, and of his impatience too, when 
he cursed the day of his birth ; but the Spirit of God putteth a finger 
on the scar. It is a ground of hope, notwithstanding many weak 
nesses and failings, Christ loveth not to upbraid us with infirmities. 
We commend with exceptions, and when we seem to praise we come 
in with a but, like a stab under the fifth rib ; yea, we blast much good 
with a little evil, as flies only go to a sore place. 

3. Observe, it is the duty of God s people to keep his word. It is 
the greatest commendation Christ could give his disciples, They have 
kept thy word. Mark, Christians, it is not your duty to hear the word 
only, but to keep it ; not to know the word only, but to keep it. 
Kickets cause great heads and weak feet. We are not only to dispute 
of the word, and talk of it, but to keep it. We must neither be all 
ear, nor all head, nor all tongue, but the feet must be exercised. Now, 
what is it to keep the word ? We are said to keep it when we watch 
over it, that it be not lost by ourselves, nor taken away by others. It 
noteth three things that it must be impressed on our hearts, expressed 
in our lives, retained in our conversations. 

[1.] To keep the word is to feel the force of it in our hearts, that 
our hearts may be more bent and set towards God, for else the word 
is lost to ourselves. A man may better his knowledge by the word, 
but yet he doth not keep it, nor feel the virtue and force of it. The 
brains may be warmed when the heart is not, and we may keep the 
notion when the motion is gone and lost. Oh ! consider, we know God 
as we love him, we know him aright when we know him as we are 
known ; he knoweth us to love us, to choose us, to gain us to himself 
and to Christ. So should we know him for our portion, to have no 
rest till we have an interest in Christ. 

[2.] It must be expressed in our life : Luke xi. 28, Blessed are they 
that hear the word of God, and keep it. To keep the law is to live 
according to the prescript of it. 

[3.] There must be a perseverance to retain it in our conversations : 
Rev. iii. 18, Thou hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. 
Do we thus keep the word ? All dependeth on it : John xiv. 15, If 
ye love me, keep my commandments. Christ conjureth us by all the 
love we bear to him, ver. 23, If any man love me, he will keep my 
words ; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and 


make our abode with him. If there be any faith in the heart, by 
which we esteem Christ, we must not only keep it in memory, but keep 
it in faith. Do you honour him in your lives. Can we venture 
anything to keep the word when the world would take our crown 
from us ? 

Use. We may know when Christ will speak good of us ; not when 
we hear, and when we are taught, but when we keep the word : yet 
this we must do, understand and keep his word, not customs, not tra 
ditions of ancestors, nor fancies ; we must receive his word as his word : 
1 Thes. ii. 13, For this cause thank we God without ceasing, because 
when ye received the word of God, which ye heard of us, ye received it 
not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which 
effectually worketh also in you that believe. 


Now they have known that all things, whatsoever thou hast given me, 
are of thee. JOHN XVII. 7. 

IN this verse there is another argument why he should be heard for 
the apostles, which may be taken either from the towardliness of the 
disciples, or the fidelity of Christ. The one is implied in the other ; 
the towardliness of the apostles in discerning the divine nature and 
mission of Christ ; the fidelity of Christ in referring all to his Father ; 
( they know it, and I have taught it them ; for he urgeth not only 
their proficiency, they have known/ but his own faithfulness, he had 
glorified his Father in his doctrine. Both which are arguments ; they 
that have made such progresses are to be respected ; and I that have 
been faithful have deserved it in their behalf. 

I shall first open the words. 

Now/ Heretofore they were ignorant, but now I can say this for 
them, they have known, &c. ; as a schoolmaster, when he hath taught 
a child, looketh for his reward when the work is done. 

They have known. Things above reason are known by faith and 
revelation ; by my teaching and illumination they are brought to con 
ceive and acknowledge it ; for he saith before, I have manifested thy 
name to the men that thou gavest me out of the world. 

That all things whatsoever thou hast given me. It doth not refer 
to what.he had received from God by eternal generation as the only- 
begotten Son of God, but to what he had in commission as mediator ; 
and he saith, all things whatsoever, as implying his authority over 
the world : ver. 2, Thou hast given him power over all flesh/ His 
interest in the elect, Thine they were, thou gavest them me, ver. 6. 
His doctrine; it was given him in charge by the Father; Christ 
taught no other doctrine but what he received from his Father : John 
vii. 16, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me/ It was not 
of his invention, but delivered according to the instruction received 
from his Father. His power to work miracles, that it was not by 
magical imposture, or the help of the devil, but by the power of God. 

VER. 7.] SEKMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 219 

The pharisees would not believe it : Luke xi. 20, If I by the finger of 
God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you : 
Mat. xii. 28, If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the king 
dom of God is come unto you. The imposition of the mediatory 
office : John vi. 69, We believe, and are sure, that thou art that 
Christ, the Son of the living God ; John i. 41, We have found the 
Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. The union of the 
two natures : That I came out from thee, and was^sent from thee/ 
ver. 8. And the apostles knew this : Mat. xvi. 16, Simon Peter 
answered and said, Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. The 
apostles knew Christ to be very God and very man in one person ; the 
veil of his human nature and natural infirmities did not hinder their 
eyes from seeing him. 

Are of thee ; that is, ratified by thee as the supreme judge ; in 
vented or found out by thee as the supreme author ; all is from thy 
sovereign favour and gracious decree, flowing from thee as the supreme 
cause and power. Of thee as an author, of thee as a cause, of thee as a 


1. Observe Christ s faithfulness to his Father, in two things in 
revealing his mind ; in referring all things to his glory. In revealing 
his mind, he acted according to his instructions : The doctrine is not 
mine, but his that sent me, John xii. 50 ; Whatsoever I speak, even as 
the Father said unto me, so I speak. In referring all things to his 
glory : John vii. 18, He that speaketh of himself, seeketh his own 
glory : but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, 
and no unrighteousness is in him. Now, if we would glorify God, we 
should learn of our Lord and master, not speak from our own fancy, 
nor to our own ends ; either way we may be false prophets, when we 
speak false doctrine, or for wrong ends ; the one leads the people into 
error, the other into formality, or a dead powerless course ; though 
usually both are coupled together : Acts xx. 28, There shall arise 
from among you men speaking perverse things, to draw disciples after 
them. Perverse doctrine and a perverse aim are seldom severed ; as 
a bow that is warped can hardly shoot right. 

Use 1. Be persuaded of the truth of what you deliver, and look to 
your aims ; the best of us know but in part, and are apt to err ; and 
we are renewed but in part, and are apt to warp, and to look asquint 
on our own interests. Little do you know what strugglings we have 
to satisfy our own souls, and then regulate and guide our aims. 

2. It is useful also to hearers. If you would glorify God, you must 
learn of Christ ; not live according to your own wills, nor for your own 
interests. The end falleth under a rule as well as the action. You 
are not to be led by fancy, but scripture ; not to aim at your own 
profit, but God s glory. It is hard to say which is worst, to baulk the 
rule or pervert the end. He that doth evil with a good aim maketh 
the devil serve God, though ignorantly and sinfully ; but he that doth 
good with an evil aim maketh God serve the devil ; you make me to 
serve with your iniquities. It is sad to wrong God, as the highest 
sovereign, by breaking a law upon any pretence whatsoever ; and it is 
worse to wrong God as the utmost end : the one is the effect of 


ignorance, the other of disobedience. Natural light showeth that the 
supreme cause must be the utmost end. A man may err in a positive 
law ; but this is the standing law of nature and reason, that all our 
endeavours should be to God. 

2. Observe, the proficiency of the apostles in Christ s school ; they 
knew that all things whatsoever was given him, was of God. At first 
they were rude and ignorant ; and Christ saith, Now they know ; 
and they had many disadvantages ; they were conscious to all the 
natural weaknesses which Christ discovered in his conversation, his 
hunger, thirst, weariness ; and yet they have known, &c. How did 
they come to know this ? I answer Partly by the internal light of 
the Holy Ghost : Mat. xvi. 16, Thou art Christ, the Son of the living 
God ; ver. 17, And Jesus answered, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar- 
jona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father 
which is in heaven/ The saving knowledge of Christ s person and 
offices cannot be gotten but by special revelation from God ; we must 
see God as we see the sun, by his own beam and light. Partly by the 
consideration of his miracles, in which some beams of the Godhead did 
shine forth, and by which his human nature was, as it were, counter 
balanced: John iii. 2, Kabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from 
God ; for no man can do these miracles that thou dost except God be 
with him. Partly by special observation of the singularity and excel 
lency that was in Christ s person, his conversation, miracles, doctrine, 
which made his testimony more valuable, and in a rational way served 
to beget respect to him, and a human belief that he was a person of 
great holiness and strict innocence, without partiality : Mark xii. 14, 
Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man ; for thou 
regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in 
truth. With such fidelity as to God ; he came not in his own name : 
John v. 42, I am come in my Father s name. With such grace and 
authority : Mat. vii. 29, The people were astonished at his doctrine ; 
for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. 
All he did was with heavenly majesty and authority ; a sovereign 
majesty was to be seen in Christ s teaching, proper to himself. Besides 
his faithfulness as a minister, with such clearness, evidence, and 
demonstration, there was sufficient declaration to the world, at his 
baptism : Mat. iii. 17, Lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my 
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; agreeing with the prophecy 
of him, Isa. xlii. 1, Behold my servant, whom I uphold ; my elect, in 
whom my soul delighteth. At his transfiguration before three per 
sons, that for the holiness of their lives were of great credit, Mat. xvii. 
5. Before all his disciples, John xii. 28, Father, glorify thy name : 
then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, 
and will glorify it again. To the world, at his resurrection, Acts xvii. 
31, Whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath 
raised him from the dead. To which resurrection the Jews were 
conscious. Those that reported it wrought miracles; these men sought 
not themselves, had no advantage, but visible hazards ; their witness 
was agreeable to the writings of the prophets; the doctrine built on it 
very satisfactory; there is in it what every religion pretendeth to, 
though in a higher way. Though miracles are now ceased, yet it is 

VER. 7.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 221 

confirmed by the truth of the word ; God continually confirmeth it by 
the seal of the Spirit, and there is an inward certioration, whereby 
believers are satisfied : John xviii. 37, For this cause came I into 
the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth : every one that 
is of the truth, heareth my voice ; that is, enlightened by the Holy 
Ghost, receiveth and believeth it ; but those that have a mind to 
wrangle, God will not satisfy. And then for his miracles, they were 
not miracles of pomp and ostentation, not destructive miracles, but 
actions of relief. When the pharisees said, He casteth out devils by 
Beelzebub, the prince of devils, Mat. xii. 24, he proveth that his 
main aim was to cast out Satan : ver. 26, If Satan cast out Satan, 
he is divided against himself. Would Satan consent that his king 
dom should fall ? He would not go to dispossess himself. All his 
aim was to promote holiness and the kingdom of God. 

I note this : 

[1.] That you may know that the apostles had sufficient means to 
convince the world of the certainty of the Christian doctrine. The 
inward testimony of the Spirit, the apostles would not allege it ; by 
miracles and rational probabilities they were fitted to deal with the 
world, and to appear as witnesses for him, when they were to give an 
account : Acts v. 32, And we are witnesses of these things, and so is 
the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him/ This 
inward witness is proper to believers ; the other may be alleged to 
infidels. By the Spirit is meant there a power to work miracles. 

[2.] That you may know the way of God s working with men, 
usually all these three concur to the working of faith there is the 
light of the Spirit, external confirmation, and the use of fit instru 

(1.) The light of the Spirit, without which there can be no grace 
nor faith : 1 John v. 6, It is the Spirit that beareth witness, because 
the Spirit is true; that is, that word which the Spirit himself hath 
revealed is truth, for he is not only the author and inditer of the word, 
but the witness ; he worketh in the hearts of the faithful, so that he 
persuadeth them of the truth of the word. 

(2.) There is external confirmation. Though miracles cease, yet we 
have the testimony and consent of the church, who by undoubted and 
authentic rolls hath communicated her experience to us, which is 
visibly confirmed by the providence of God, not suffering the truth to 
be oppressed. 

(3.) There is the use of fit instruments, specially gifted for this 
purpose. Though the effect of the word doth mainly depend on the 
Spirit, yet there is a ministerial efficacy in the messengers : Acts xiv. 
1, They so spake, that a multitude both of the Jews and also of the 
Greeks believed. Not that the faith of the hearers doth merely 
depend upon the excellency of the preacher ; yet certain it is that one 
way of preaching may be more fit to convert than another, both in 
regard of matter and form. Pure doctrine, for the matter, is more apt 
to convert than that which is mixed with falsehood : as pure water 
cleanseth better than foul, and good food nourisheth better than that 
which is in part tainted. He that can divide the word aright, and 
prudently apply it, is more powerful to work than he that seeth by an 
half light, or presseth truth loosely, and not with judgment and 


solidity. Not as if they could infallibly convert, but they are more 
likely; they do not carry the grace of conversion in their mouths. 
Then for the form, with more plainness, clearness, strength of argu 
ment. God hath given to some gifts above others, not to bind himself 
to them, but in the way of instruments they are more powerful, though 
the weakest gifts are not to be despised. And in the quality of the 
persons, holy persons are more polished shafts in God s quiver. 

[3.1 I observe it to press you to regard all these things 

(1.) The power of the Spirit, if you would profit in Christ s school. 
The watering-pot will do nothing without the sun, nor the word without 
his testimony : 1 Cor. iii. 7, So then, neither is he that planteth any 
thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the increase. 
The Spirit is to confirm truth to you by way of witness and argu 
ment. By way of witness : 1 John v. 7. For there are three that bear 
record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. There 
is a secret persuasion, especially when you are reading and hearing, 
that insinuateth itself with your thoughts ; doubtless this is the word 
of God: Acts xvi. 14, Whose heart the Lord opened, that she at 
tended to those things that were spoken by Paul. By way of argu 
ment ; working such things, from whence you may conclude it is 
God s word : John viii. 32, Ye shall know the truth, and the truth 
shall make you free. When ye are freed from the bondage of sin, 
then ye are enlightened to see the truth of the gospel ; by experience 
ye shall know the truth. 

(2.) Take in the advantage of external confirmation. By miracles 
Christ s testimony was made valuable to the apostles. You have not 
only authentic records, wherein these miracles are recorded, which as 
a history may be believed, but the testimony of the church, which hath 
experience of the truth and power of the gospel for many ages ; 
the lives of the godly, who are called God s witnesses, 1 Cor. xiv. 
26 ; the providences of God in delivering his church, in their mira 
culous preservations: Ps. Iviii. 11, Verily there is a God that 
judgeth in the earth. Answers of prayer grounded on the word. 

Upon all these grounds practise upon this truth, that Christ came 
out from God. 

(3.) Choose out to yourselves faithful teachers, such as Christ was, 
delivering the word with authority and faithfulness to God and men ; 
such as do not seek their own things, fear no man s face, and come 
with the powerful evidence and demonstration of the Spirit. And 
indeed ministers should be careful to manifest themselves to the con 
sciences of those with whom they deal, that they may have a testi 
mony of Christ speaking in them/ 1 Cor. xv. 3, that he teacheth in 
and by them ; they should be assured of their doctrine, that Christ 
brought it out of his Father s heart, not speaking by rote like 
parrots: 1 John i. 1, That which was from the beginning, which we 
have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have 
looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life ; that 
which our hearts have felt, that which we have not by rote, not by 
guess, but by experience : 1 Tim. vi. 13, Jesus Christ, witnessed be 
fore Pontius Pilate a good confession. 

3. Observe Christ s gentleness in bearing with their failings : Now 
they have known. It was a long time ere they could be gained to a 

VER. 7.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 223 

sense of his divine power, therefore he chargeth them with hardness 
of heart, Mark vi. 52, They considered not the miracle of the 
loaves, for their hearts were hardened. So Mark viii. 17, Perceive ye 
not yet, neither understand ? Have ye your hearts yet hardened ? 
And now, in his intercession to his Father, he mentioneth not their 
hardness, nor the obstinacy of their prejudices, nor their present 
weakness, but their knowledge: Now they know ; they have been 
obstinate, but he covereth that, at least doth but imply it. How will 
ing is Christ to spread a garment on our nakedness ! Past sins shall 
not hurt us when they do not please us. When a man turneth from 
grace to sin, then all his righteousness is forgotten : Ezek. xviii. 24, 
All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned. 
So he that turneth from sin to grace, or from grace to grace : ver. 22, 
All his trangressions that he hath committed they shall not be men 
tioned unto him ; it is all undone by repentance and reformation. How 
do men differ from Christ ! We upbraid men with past failings, when 
they are repented of. It is hard to put off the reproach of youth ; when 
God maketh them vessels of mercy, they will not suffer them to 
be vessels of honour; Hi homines invident mihi gratiam divinam. 
As the elder brother upbraideth the reformed prodigal : Luke xv. 30, 
As soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living 
with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. This is an 
envious disposition, and cross to God ; you go about to take off the 
robes of honour which God hath put upon them, and to despoil them 
as the spouse was of her ornaments. 

4. Observe what is the chief object of faith ; to believe the divine 
authority and .commission of Christ, and that his power to dispense 
salvation to the creatures was given him from his Father. There is 
a world of comfort in this. The Father, being first in order of the 
persons, is to be looked upon as the offended party, and as the highest 

[1.] He is to be looked upon as the offended party. All sin is against 
God : Ps. li. 4, Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this 
evil in thy sight. He had offended Uriah, abused Bathsheba ; the 
injury was against them, but the sin against God: against thee, thee 
only/ This may be referred to all the persons, but it chiefly con- 
cerneth the first person, to whom we direct our prayers, and who is 
the maker of the law. Christ, the second person, satisfied for the 
breach of it : It is against thee, thee only. Now this is our comfort, 
that our guilt and sin was not cast on Christ s person without the 
Father, without his privity and consent ; nay, it is his own plot and de 
sign ; it was the Father s counsel, rather than the creature s desire. 
So that we may quiet our consciences by that promise, Isa. xliii. 25, 
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for my own 
name s sake. God the Father would have you look to him as one 
that hath only to do in this matter. Sin is a grief to the Spirit, it is a 
crucifying of Christ ; but in the last result of it, it is an offence to God 
the Father, because it is a breach of his law. God is the fountain of 
the divinity ; yea, all that is done to the other persons redoundeth to the 
Father, as our Saviour reasoneth : He that despiseth me despiseth 
him that sent me. 


[2.] The Father is the highest judge. All the persons of the God 
head are co-essential, and co-equal in glory and honour; only in 
economy or dispensation of salvation, the Father is to be looked upon 
as judge and chief. Man is the debtor, Christ the surety, and the 
Father the judge before whose tribunal the satisfaction is to be made ; 
therefore Christ saith, My Father is greater than I. And in the 
whole work of our redemption he is to be considered as a superior ; 
therefore all the addresses, not only of the creatures, but of the Son of 
God himself, are to his Father for pardon, as if it were not in his own 
single power : Luke xxiii. 34, Father, forgive them ; they know not 
what they do. If it passeth with God the Father, then the business is 
ended. So 1 John ii. 1, Christ is said to be an advocate with the 
Father, as supreme in court, as the advocate is beneath the judge. 
So John xiv. 16, I will pray the Father, and he shall give you the 
Comforter: pardon, comfort, and grace cometh from the Father. It 
is true, it is said, Mat. ix. 6, that the Son of man hath power on 
earth to forgive sins; but it is by commission from the Father, as 
we shall see anon. Well, then, the Father is the supreme judge : 
whatever passeth in his name is valid and authoritative; Now it is 
he that committed the work of redemption to Christ ; he is the 
supreme judge. Eli saith, 1 Sam. ii. 25, If one man sinneth against 
another, the judge shall judge him ; but if a man sin against the Lord, 
who shall entreat for him ? The meaning is, if one man hath tres 
passed against another, the magistrate may take up the controversy, by 
executing justice, and causing the delinquent to make satisfaction to 
the party offended ; but who shall state the offence, and compose the 
difference between God and us ? The sin is committed against the 
judge himself, the highest judge, from whom there is no appeal ; no 
satisfaction can be made by mortal men, and no person is fit to arbitrate 
the difference. Therefore God himself is pleased to find out a remedy ; 
and in all that the Son did, he hath a great hand and stroke in it. The 
Father s act is authoritative and above contradiction. If he had not 
given us a mediator out of his own bosom, we had for ever lain under 
the guilt and burden of our sins. This had its rise from the grace 
and mercy of the Father. 

But let us see what the Father doth in the business of our redemp 
tion, that we may with comfort look upon Christ as a constituted 
authorised mediator by the decree and counsel of heaven. 

(1.) As the supreme author, it was the Father s contrivance and 
motion to Christ to regard the case of sinners : I look, and there is no 
intercessor ; I see there is none fit to go between fallen man and me. 
Son, you shall take their case in hand. And therefore he is said to 
give Christ : John iii. 16, God so loved the world that he gave his 
only-begotten Son. In the purpose of his thoughts to send Christ : 
Gal. iv. 4, When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his 
Son, made of a woman/ I shall open it in the next verse. To 
sanctify him : John x. 36, Say ye of him whom the Father hath 
sanctified and sent into the world ? &c. To consecrate him for the 
great work of redemption ; as when a thing is set apart for divine 
uses and purposes, it is said to be sanctified ; so was Christ sanctified 
when he was set apart for the work of redemption. Nay, to seal him : 

VER. 7.] SERMONS UPON" JOHN xvn. 225 

John vi. 37, Him hath God the Father sealed ; a metaphor taken 
from those who give commissions under hand and seal. Christ is a 
mediator confirmed and allowed under the broad seal of heaven. So 
Heb. x. 5, A body hast thou prepared for me ; and ver. 7, Lo, I 
come ; in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, 
God ; as if God had set down in a book a draft and model of his 
designs, and then showed it to Christ. 

(2.) As the supreme cause, in whom divine power was eternally 
resident, he assisteth Christ in the accomplishment of this work, and 
qualifieth him for his office, with power and mercy. Christ in his own 
person would show us the fountain from whence all mercies do arise : 
Ps. xlv. 7, He was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. 
The Father is not only said to beget him, but to anoint him. His 
compassionate spirit he received from the Holy Ghost : Luke iv. 18, 

* The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed 
me to preach the gospel, &c. God gave him tenderness and bowels to 
poor broken-hearted sinners. So for power and strength : John v. 19, 

* The Son of man can do nothing of himself, as separate and distinct 
from the Father ; not out of any weakness, but because of the unity of 
the essence, as God, and on the federal agreement, as mediator. 

(3.) As supreme judge, he appointeth his sufferings, and the measure 
of the satisfaction he was to make : Acts iv. 28, To do whatsoever 
thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. Whatever 
men did to him, it was by his hand and counsel. We must look to a 
higher court, from God s providence to God s decree. If it had been 
<lone without his knowledge and consent, nothing would have been 
-done for our salvation : Him being delivered, eVSoro?, by the deter 
minate counsel of God, ye have taken, Acts ii. 23 ; a word taken from 
alms to beggars. We wanted a price for our redemption, and God 
gave it out of his own treasury : Rom. iv. 25, He was delivered for 
our offences ; a metaphor taken from a judge who delivereth up the 
malefactor into the hands of the executioner. Christ was delivered by 
God as our surety, one that by his decree was to be responsible to his 
justice for man s sin. The Father was to reward him for this by rais 
ing him from the dead, and to give him leave to return to his own 
glory ; therefore he asketh leave to return to heaven, ver. 5, And now, 
O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I 
had with thee before the world was. After the price and ransom was 
paid, the Father was to give Christ a power to rise from the dead, and 
to go into heaven. There is potestas and potentia, Sw/a/u?, egova-ia. 
Christ had power in himself, and leave from the Father ; till the Father 
should declare himself to be satisfied, Christ was not to be dismissed 
from punishment. Our surety was not to break prison, but honour 
ably to be brought out by the judge, for this was the assurance God 
would give the world: Acts xvii. 31, He will judge the world in 
righteousness, by the man whom he hath ordained ; whereof he hath 
given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. 
It is not only an effect of the divine power, but an act of divine justice. 
And being raised up, he is to be crowned with glory and honour, as having 
abundantly done his work for the salvation of creatures : Heb. ii. 9, 
4 We see Jesus, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and 

VOL. X. P 


honour. The Father s heart was so taken with it, that he honoureth 
Christ for this reason. And again, he giveth power and authority to 
save sinners : Acts v. 31, Him hath God exalted to be a prince and a 
saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. He hath 
raised him up to be a prince of salvation. Here is the end of all, that 
Christ as mediator might be in a capacity to bring souls to heaven. 
And in this work there is a constant co-operation of the divine power - T 
1 Cor. i. 30, Of God he is made to us wisdom, and righteousness, and 
sanctification, and redemption. All the emanations of grace come 
originally from the Father, in and through Christ, to all his members. 

Use 1. Comfort. What would have become of us, if the Father 
himself had not found out such a remedy ? God had power to punish 
sins in our own person, he needed no mediator. To save sinners is not 
proprietas divince naturae, but opus liberi consilii ; it dependeth on 
God s appointment ; and if Christ had been a mediator only by the vote 
of the creature, he might have been refused : Exod. xxxii. 33, Who 
soever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. There 
is much in the Father s act. Now God hath given Christ a faculty to 
this purpose ; when we go to God, we may offer a mediator authorised 
by himself : Thou hast sent thy blessed Son to be a mediator for me : 2 
John 9, He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath the Father 
and the Son. You may urge it upon your fears and suggestions of 
Satan. God is not only the wronged party, but supreme judge ; it is no 
matter what Satan saith, or your own hearts say, if the Lord hath said 
he will accept sinners in Christ : Kom. viii. 33, 34, Who shall lay any 
thing to the charge of God s elect ? It is God that justifieth ; who is 
he that condemneth? It is Christ that died. Who can condemn? 
Satan may say, I can ; and conscience, I can. God, whose act is sove 
reign, doth acquit. God hath so great an interest in Christ, that he 
can deny him nothing : John xiv. 31, That the world may know that 
I love the Father/ He will be the sinner s surety for his Father s sake. 

Use 2. Glorify God the Father ; it is the end of the whole dispen 
sation of grace. Glorify him in your expectations ; the Father himself 
loveth you. Glorify him in your enjoyments, all is from the Father of 
lights, James i. 17. There is no defect in Christ : John xvii. 23, I in 
them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that 
the world may know that thou hast sent me, and that thou hast loved 
them, as thou hast loved me. God hath loved him, not only as his 
own Son, but our saviour: John x. 17, Therefore doth my Father 
love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 


For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me ; and they 
have received them, and have known surely that I came out from 
thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. JOHN 
XVII. 8. 

CHRIST in this verse further explaineth the argument that was urged 
before, which was taken from their proficiency in his school, and that 

VER. 8.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvu. 227 

they had a right sense of and faith in the dignity and quality of his 
person. This faith is set forth by all the requisites of it. 

First, The means by which it is wrought ; that is, the word, the 
doctrine given to him by his Father, and by him to his apostles: for 
I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me. 

Secondly, The nature of faith, which consisteth in knowledge and 
acceptation : they have known surely, and they have believed them. Arj- 
ifris and yvwcrt? are the two acts of faith. 

Thirdly, The object of faith, the mission of Christ, and his coming 
out from the Father : that I came out from thee, and they have believed 
that thou hast sent me. 

First, I begin with the means of faith : For I have given unto 
them the words which thou gavest me. The only difficulty is how 
the word was given unto Christ. Some think it is meant of the divine 
and infinite knowledge and wisdom which was communicated to Christ 
by eternal generation ; but that is very improper, quwcunque Christo 
dantur, secundum humanitatem dantur. It is meant of that giving 
which Christ had as mediator, as the ambassador hath his instructions 
according to which he is to act. Now saith Christ, I have taught them 
according to the instructions which I received as mediator. These are 
said to be given, to be infused and revealed to his human soul. 

1. Observe, the word is the proper means to work faith. We see 
here the apostles had no other means of salvation than Christ s word ; 
when Christ giveth an account of their faith, he doth not mention his 
miracles, but his doctrine. Again, he doth not speak only of the 
internal manifestation of the Spirit, I have manifested thy name ; 
but also of the outward revelation, I have given to them the words 
which thou gavest me. We have a general saying, Rom. x. 17, Faith 
cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. This is the 
usual method and way of grace s working ; God will insinuate the effi 
cacy of his Spirit by outward counsel and instruction, and by the ear 
transmit his grace to the heart, that he might workfortiter, suaviter. 

Use 1. It reproveth the folly of two sorts of men ; there are some 
that think the word cannot work unless it be accompanied with 
miracles, and others that think the Spirit will work without the word. 

1. Those that think the word will not work without miracles, and 
therefore expect a reviving of miracles, to authorise that ministry which 
they mean to receive. Vain thoughts ! In the primitive times, when 
miracles were in force, we read of some converted by the word without 
miracles, but of none converted by miracles without the word: Acts xi. 
20, 21, Some of Cyprus and Cyrene, when they were come to Antioch, 
spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of 
the Lord was with them ; and a great number believed, and turned to 
the Lord. They wrought no signs, only preached the Lord Jesus. 
There is not one instance in the whole word of any one converted by a 
single miracle. It is natural to us to idolise visible helps and confir 
mations. Those mentioned Acts xi. were not apostles, but private 
brethren, who in that extraordinary time used their gifts, and were 

2. Those that expect the illapses of the Spirit, without waiting upon 
the word. It is true God can work immediately, but the question is about 


his will. God is not tied to means, but we are bound and tied. God 
may use his liberty, but this doth not dissolve our duty and obligation ; 
we are to lie at the pool, if we expect the stirring of the waters. There 
is a great deal of difference between the want of means and the con 
tempt of them. I should always suspect that grace that is wrought in 
us in the neglect of the means. The regular way of faith is by the 
word; it hath pleased God to consecrate it. God could have converted 
the eunuch without Philip, but we are to submit to his will. Paul that 
received his consternation miraculously, had his confirmation from 
Ananias ; Christ had preached him into terror from heaven, but he 
sendeth him to Ananias for comfort. 

Use 2. It stirreth us up to attend upon the word; it is God s instru 
ment : Horn. i. 16, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ ; for it 
is the power of God to salvation, to every one that believeth; the 
meaning is, it is a powerful instrument to work faith ; as the first 
sermon that ever was preached, after the pouring out of the Spirit, 
converted three thousand souls. An angel could slay a hundred and 
eighty-five thousand men in a night by his own natural strength; but 
it is easier to kill so many men than to convert one soul. All the 
angels in heaven, if they should join all their forces together, they could 
not convert one soul to God ; but yet this power will God discover in 
the ministry and co-operation of weak men. Those that do not delight 
to hear the word have no mind to see the miracles of grace. The 
power is of God, yet it is wonderfully joined with the word ; it is not 
enclosed in it, but sent out together with it when God pleaseth. It is 
God s ordinance, and under the blessing of an institution. 

2. Observe, again, the certainty of Christian doctrine. The word 
delivered to the apostles was received from the Father by Christ. It 
was no invention of his own, but brought out of the bosom of the 
Father: John vii. 16, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. 
So John xiv. 10, The words that I speak, I speak not of myself; that 
is, not as mediator. It was prophesied of Christ, who was the great 
prophet of the church: Deut. xviii. 18, I will raise them up a prophet 
from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in 
his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command 
him. Christ said, his Father gave it him. Christ was consecrated 
prophet of the church by the Trinity : Mat. iii. 17, This is my beloved 
Son, in whom I am well pleased. There was the Father s voice, the 
Holy Ghost as a dove, and the Son was there in person. 

Use. Which should stablish us the more in the truth, and is a pattern 
to ministers. It is excellent when we can say, My doctrine is not 
mine, but his that sent me; or, as Paul, That which I received of the 
Lord I have delivered to you, 1 Cor. xi. 23. 

3. Observe, among the things which the Father gave to the Son, one 
of the chiefest is the doctrine of the gospel. Let us look upon it as a 
gift ; the Father gave it, the Son gave it. Here is a double gift ; it was 
a gift from the Father to Christ, and from Christ to the apostles : I 
have given them the word which thou gavest me. Next to Christ the 
gospel is the greatest benefit which God hath given to men. He that 
despiseth the gospel, despiseth the very bounty of God, and men can 
not endure to have their love and bounty despised. As when David 

VEIJ. 8.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 229 

sent a courteous message to Nabal, and he was refused, he threatened 
to cut off from Nabal every one that pisseth against the wall. Take 
heed you despise, not God s special gifts. The preaching of the word, 
it was Christ s largest in the day of his royalty: Eph. iv. 8, 11, When 
he ascended up on high, he gave some, apostles ; and some, prophets ; 
and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; as princes, 
when crowned, have their royal donatives. Those that grudge at the 
ministry, and count it a burden, they do in effect upbraid Christ with 
his gift, as if it were not worth the giving. Those that labour in the 
ministry, are his especial gift to us. They are but sottish swine that 
trample such pearls under feet. We should think of them as the 
special favours of Christ. I do not speak of the persons, but the 
calling. This disposition showeth no love to Christ. 

Secondly, The next thing is the nature of faith. There are two 
things spoken of in the text 7i/wcri9 and XT}^?, they have received 
them, and have known surely. 

First, I begin with the latter, in order of words, as first in order of 
nature, eyvacrav d\r)6w<t, they have known surely/ The word a\7)6&<;, 
which signifieth truly, surely, is used to exclude that literal historical 
knowledge which may be in carnal men. 

1. Observe, faith cannot be without knowledge. It is not a blind 
assent: Eom. x. 14, How shall they believe in him of whom they have 
not heard? We must know what Christ is before we can trust him 
with our souls : 1 Tim. i. 12, I know whom I have believed/ We 
must see the stay and prop before we lean upon it, otherwise we shall 
neither be satisfied in ourselves, nor be able to plead with Satan, nor 
answer doubts of conscience. He that is impleaded in court, and doth 
not know the privileges of the law, how shall he be able to purge him 
self ? Fears are in the dark. The blind man spoke reason in that 
conference between Christ and him, when Christ asked him, Dost thou 
believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, 
that I might believe on him? John ix. 35, 36. We must know what 
God is. Till we have a distinct knowledge of the nature of God, and 
the tenor of the covenant, we shall be full of scruples. Well then 

Use 1. It discovereth the wretched condition of ignorant persons. 
We are not so sensible of the danger of ignorance as we should be. 
God will render vengeance to them that know not God, and that obey 
not the gospel, 2 Thes. i. 8. Poor wretches! they live sinfully and die 
sottishly ; they live sinfully, they are under no awe of conscience, be 
cause they have no knowledge ; and when they come to die, they die 
sottishly ; like men that leap over a deep gulf blindfold, they know 
not where their feet shall light. In their lifetime, at best they live but 
by guess and some devout aims ; and when they come to die, they die 
by guess, in a doubtful, uncertain way. 

Use 2. To press Christians to gain more distinct knowledge, if you 
would settle your souls in a certainty of salvation. God may lay 
trouble of conscience upon a knowing person ; but usually persons 
ignorant are full of scruples, which vanish before the light as mists do 
before the sun. 

2. Observe, they know surely. In the knowledge of faith there is an 
undoubted certain light. It dependeth upon two things that cannot 


deceive us the revelation of the word, and the illumination of the 
Spirit. The knowledge of faith is less than the light of glory for 
clearness, but equal for certainty ; it hath as much assurance from 
God s word, though not so much evidence as ariseth from enjoyment. 

3. Observe, they know a\t]6ws, truly, indeed. Every kind of know 
ledge is not enough for faith, but a true, sound knowledge. There is a 
form of knowledge as well as a form of godliness ; Rom. ii. 20, com 
pared with 2 Tim. iii. 5. A form of knowledge is nothing else but an 
artificial speculation, a naked model of truth in the brain, which, like 
a winter sun, shineth, but warmeth not. 

But let us a little state the differences. 

[1.] The light of faith is serious and considerate. Faith is a spiritual 
prudence, it is opposed to folly as well as ignorance : Luke xxiv. 25, 
fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have said ! 
Faith always draweth to use and practice. It is a knowledge with 
consideration : Eph. i. 17, That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, 
the Father of glory, would give unto you the spirit of wisdom and 
revelation in the knowledge of him. Many have parts, but they have 
not wisdom to make the best choice for their souls. There is a great 
deal of difference between knowledge and prudence ; it is excellent 
when both are joined together : I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, Prov. 
viii. 12. Wisdom is the knowledge of principles, prudence is an ability 
to use them to our comfort. Knowledge is settled in the brain, not 
the heart. When wisdom entereth into thy heart/ Prov. ii. 10, it 
stirreth up esteem, affiance, love. A carnal man may have a model of 
truth, a traditional disciplinary knowledge, such as lieth in generals, 
not particulars, and is rather for discourse than life. A vintner s 
cellar may be better stored than a nobleman s ; he hath wines, not to 
taste, but sell ; a carnal man hath a great deal of knowledge for dis 
course, not to warm his own heart. 

[2.] The light of faith is a realising light, e\67%o<? ov fiXeTropevwv, 
Faith is in the evidence of things not seen/ Heb. xi. 1 ; it maketh 
absent things present to the soul. But the light of parts is a naked, 
abstract speculation, it is without feeling, there is no sense and feeling 
of the things apprehended. True knowledge is expressed by tasting ; 
1 Peter ii. 5, If so be that ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 
Tasting implieth more than seeing; there is not only apprehension, 
but experience : Phil. i. 9, I pray God that your love may abound 
more and more in knowledge and in all judgment, ev irdarj aia-0rj<rei, 
in all sense. To others it is but an empty barren, notion : Phil. iii. 10, 
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection/ that is, 
experimentally. Carnal men have no feeling of the force of the truths 
they apprehend, only now and then some fleeting joys ; it is not 
realising and -affective. Strong water and running water differ not in 
colour, but in taste and virtue. They may know the same truths, but 
it differeth in relish ; they know the things of God only as things in 
conceit, not in being. 

[3.] The light of faith is wrought by the Spirit, this but a hearsay, 
knowledge gathered out of books and sermons ; they shine with a 
borrowed light, as the moon that is dark in itself, and hath no light 
rooted in its own body. These shine with other men s light : John 

VER. 8.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 231 

iv. 42, Now we believe, not for thy saying, but we have heard him 
ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the 
world. Men talk of things by rote after others, and are rather said 
to rehearse than understand ; it is not written in their hearts, but only 
reported to their ears : Heb. viii. 10, I will write my law in their 
hearts. Truth is written there by the finger of the Spirit, to others 
it is but traditional, learned as other arts by man. Now there is a 
great deal of difference between seeing God in the light of the Spirit, 
and seeing God and the things of God by the reports of men, as between 
seeing countries in a map, or book of geography, and knowing them 
by travel and experience. 

[4.] It is a transforming light: 2 Cor. iii. 18, We all as in a glass 
beholding the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, 
from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Looking upon 
the image of Christ, we are changed into the same image and likeness, 
from glory to glory ; as Moses his face shone. Conversing with Christ, 
it altereth and changeth the soul, which is hereby renewed in know 
ledge after the image of him that created him, Col. iii. 10. That is 
no true light and knowledge of God that doth not bridle lusts and 
purify the heart ; a wicked man s knowledge, it is light without fire, 
directive, not persuasive : 1 John ii. 3, 4, Hereby we know that we 
know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, 
and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in 
him ; it is a lie and pretence ; unactive light is but darkness. In 
paradise there was a tree of life and a tree of knowledge ; many taste 
of the tree of knowledge that never taste of the tree of life. 

[5.] The light of faith is an undoubted certain light, but in wicked 
men it is always mingled with doubting, ignorance, error, and un 
belief. It is not convictive, but a loose, wavering opinion, not a settled, 
.grounded persuasion ; they have not the riches of the assurance of 
understanding, Col. ii. 2 ; that dependeth on experience, and inward 
sense of the truth, and is wrought by the Holy Ghost. And therefore 
the apostle speaketh of the evidence and demonstration of the Spirit : 
1 Cor. ii. 4, ev a7roSetJ~ei rov Trvev^aro^ KOL e$ui/a/ieo>?, in the demon 
stration of the Spirit, and of power. AiroSei^tf is a clear, convincing 
argument, by which the judgment is settled; it cometh in upon the 
soul with evident confirmation. 

Secondly, The next thing in the nature of faith is XT}-^? : I have 
.given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received 
them. There, is a receiving Christ and a receiving the word. Some 
times the act of faith is terminated on the person of Christ ; as John 
i. 12, To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become 
the sons of God, even to as many as believe on his name. Sometimes 
on the promises ; to show that as there is no closing with Christ 
without the promise, so there is no closing with the promise without 
Christ ; first we receive the word of Christ, and then Christ himself, 
and in Christ life and salvation ; that is the progress of faith : Acts 
x. 42, Through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive 
remission of sins. 

Observe that faith is a receiving the word of Christ. The notion 
.is elsewhere used : Acts ii. 41, Then they that gladly received the 


word were baptized. Unbelief, it is a rejecting the counsel of the 
word, and faith a receiving it. Unbelief is thus described : Acts xiii. 
46, Since ye put away the word of God from you. So Luke vii. 
30, But the pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against 
themselves ; that is, refused the counsel of God, to their own loss and 
ruin. On the contrary, when Cornelius was converted, it is said, Acts 
xi. 1, The apostles heard that the Gentiles also had received the 
word of God/ So that we may describe faith with reference to this 
act, a motion in the heart of man, stirred up by the Spirit of God, to 
receive the whole word of God. 
Let me open it a little. 

1. Eeceiving is a relative word, and supposeth an offer. God offeretli 
on his part, and we receive on ours. As in all contracts and covenants 
between party and party, one party offeretli such an advantage or 
commodity upon such conditions, the other receiveth the offer, con- 
senteth to the conditions, and expecteth that the covenant should be 
made good ; so in the covenant of grace, Christ offereth remission 
of sins, and the whole blessings of the gospel, under the condition 
of faith and repentance. We are said to receive this word, or this 
gospel, when we consent to the conditions, and wait for the accom 
plishment of the blessing ; we are willing to come to trust him for the 
grace of the covenant, and to come under the bond of the duty of it. 

2. In this receiving, the soul must be convinced that it is the word 
of God, and that he will deal with creatures upon such a covenant. 
For in this covenant it is not as it is in other contracts ; the party 
contracting doth not appear in person, but dealeth with us by officers 
and substitutes. God tendereth his covenant by the ministry of man. 
Now, whosoever would receive it in God s name, must be undoubtedly 
persuaded that they are commissioned and authorised by God to tender 
such a covenant to us. Therefore the apostle saith, 1 Thes. ii. 13, 
When ye received the word which ye have heard of us, ye received 
it not as the word of man, but (as it is indeed) the word of God,, 
which effectually worketh also in you that believe. A man that would 
profit by the ministry must settle himself in this persuasion, that the 
doctrines delivered in scripture have God for their author. We come 
in God s stead, to strike up a bargain with you for your souls ; this 
bindeth the ear to attention, the mind to faith, the heart to reverence, 
the will and conscience to obedience. We are to entertain all the 
doctrines of the word, without any suspense of judgment and contra 
diction. We are to put to our seal to Christ s testimony : John iii. 
33, He that hath received his testimony, hath set to his seal that God 
is true/ Usually there is some privy atheism in us ; we look upon 
the gospel as a golden dream, and well-devised fable. This is properly 
assent, and should be soundly laid. Lord, thou wilt not fail thy poor 
creatures, if they venture their souls on thy word. 

3. The whole word must be received. Jn every covenant there is 
a precept as well as a promise. We mar the very form of it when 
we reflect on the promise, and neglect the precept. It is great error 
in them that think that receiving of the word is done when we apply 
the promises, as if nothing were needful, to salvation but to say, I trust 
that my sins are forgiven me in Christ. The gospel hath not only 

VER. 8.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 233 

promises, but commands, conditions, and articles of the covenant, 
which are no less to be received than the promises. First, receive the 
commandment concerning repentance and conversion, with a resolution 
to cast thyself on Christ ; and then be of good confidence, thy sins 
shall be forgiven thee. There is in faith not only an assent, but 
consent ; assent to the truth of God, consent to the articles of the 
covenant ; assent to the truth of the contract, consent to the terms, and 
affiance or confident waiting for the promise; all these are in faith. 
Hypocrites are said to receive the word with joy/ Luke viii. 13 ; but 
they received only the word of promise with joy. It is pleasing to the 
conscience to hear of pardon of sins. Men may have vanishing fleeting 
joys. A carnal man would have God s grace, but he would have none 
of his counsel. 

4. This must be received with all the heart. The work of faith is 
not confined to the acts of the understanding ; there are some motions 
of the heart. Philip puts the eunuch to this trial, Acts viii. 37, Be- 
lievest thou with all thy heart? and he said, I believe that Jesus 
Christ is the Son of God. God is as careful of the duty of the gospel 
as of the duty of the law ; he that required that we should love him 
with all our hearts hath also required that we should believe in him 
with all our hearts ; he required the whole heart in love, and he ex- 
pecteth the whole heart in faith. 

Now, because this is the critical difference between true faith and 
counterfeit, I shall apply this receiving to both the objects of faith, 
the word and the person of Christ, because the doctrine concerning 
both is of near affinity, and the one is opened by the other. In re 
ceiving the person of Christ, there is the same method of the acts of 
faith as there is in receiving the word of God. (1.) There is an offer. 
Faith receiving, presupposeth an offering ; we do not snatch at Christ, 
but receive him. Sinners snatch at Christ sometimes, when God s 
hand is not open to give him. (2.) We must look at this offering as 
made by God himself. Faith taketh Christ out of his Father s hands. 
(3.) We must take whole Christ, as Lord and Saviour ; and (4.) We 
must take him with our whole hearts. 

Therefore I shall explain this receiving with the whole heart in 
reference to both objects, the word and Christ. 

First, What is it to receive the word with our whole hearts ? There 
is nothing so difficult as to draw the acts of faith ihto a method. 

1. It implieth an act of the will ; there must not only be knowledge 
and acknowledgment that the doctrine is true, but an actual choice 
and a willing acceptation. Faith apprehendeth the covenant made in 
Christ, not only as true, but good ; and so answerably there is not only 
a believing with the mind, but a believing with the heart : Rom. x. 10, 
With the heart man believeth. The faculty answereth the object : 
1 Tim. i. 15, This is a faithful saying, Trto-ro? 6 \6yos, and then, 
Truer??? a.7ro8o xf]<i agios, worthy of all acceptation/ &c. So that there 
is required some motion of the heart, besides intellectual assent. 

2. This act of the will is accompanied with some sensible affection : 
Heb. xi. 13, a<T7raad/j,evot ra? eVc^eTua?, they embraced the pro 
mises; they hugged and clasped about, and embraced the promises. 
All acts of faith do necessarily imply answerable affections. The 


children of God embrace the promises with delight, receive the threat- 
enings with trembling and reverence, and the commandments with all 
cheerfulness: Acts ii. 41, "Then they that received the word gladly, 
atr/i/G>?, not as a people that are overcome receive laws from the con 
queror, or as Zipporah circumcised her child, with grudging and 
discontent, but with hearty and cheerful consent. I confess there is, 
and ever will be, an opposition of the flesh : a man doth not receive 
the whole word as a thirsty man receiveth sweet drink, but as a sick 
man, or one that is thirsty after health receiveth physic, or a bitter 
potion, with an earnest serious desire, though his appetite loatheth it. 
There is a hearty consent to God s terms, because they know it will be 
for their welfare ; as Laban, when he heard Jacob s proposals, What 
shall I give thee ? the speckled and spotted among the flocks. Gen. 
xxx. 34. Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy 
word/ Oh ! would to God that this were my share, that God would 
take up the quarrel between himself and me ! 

3. This affection is accompanied with a pursuit, or serious making 
after those hopes. There is a care and anxiousness of obedience, or 
taking the next course to speed, that we may find him, and feel him 
in our consciences : They received the word gladly, and were bap 
tized/ Acts ii. 41. In every contract where the parties are agreed there 
is a signing and sealing ; so they received the word, and were bap 
tized ; that was the next course to come under these hopes. A con 
tract lieth void and dead if there be consent yet no performance. So 
faith without works is dead. Faith is a consent to God s covenant, 
yet because there is no answerable obedience, this consent is void, and 
to no effect. Now this is the utmost extension of the will, in motions 
and addresses towards Christ. Faith is expressed by coming to Christ, 
qui se dat in viam. A man putteth himself into the way of salvation, 
upon a search and inquiry after Christ. We know not what will come 
of it, but we will continue seeking : I will go to my father. 

4. These endeavours are supported by affiance, or a resolution to 
wait upon God till the blessings of the covenant be accomplished and 
made good. Though they meet with difficulties, they keep wrestling 
with God : Gen. xxxii. 26, I will not let thee go unless thou bless 
me. There is an obstinate purpose : Job xiii. 15, Though he slay 
me, yet will I trust in him. So they will have Christ, whatever it 
cost them : Phil. iii. 8, 9, I count all things but loss for the excellency 
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered 
the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win 
Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, 
which is after the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, 
the righteousness which is of God by faith. Faith may be shaken, 
but it will not lose its hold ; as a tree groweth though it be bended 
with the wind. Thus you see what it is to receive the word with our 
whole heart : not only to acknowledge the truth of it, but to choose 
and accept it as our direction, with all cheerfulness, and accordingly 
make out after the hopes of Christianity, resolving not to be discouraged, 
whatever entertainment we meet with from God and the world. 

Secondly, There is a receiving Christ with the whole heart. Art 
thou willing to take Christ upon these terms ? Yes, saith the soul, 

VER. 8.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 235 

with all my heart. This answer were enough, if it were simple and 
genuine. But because we profane and prostitute these words to every 
slight matter, the deceit is not so easily discovered. We are wont to 
say of every trifle, I love such a thing with all my heart ; I will do it 
with all my heart ; whereas these words are of a sacred sound and 
importance ; and did not we adulterate them so often as we do, but 
keep them consecrate to God, to whom alone they are proper, the very 
pronouncing of them would awaken conscience ; we could not give 
such an answer but conscience would give us the lie. Let us then 
inquire into the thing, and see a little in the nature of the thing (for 
there is no trust in the expression), what this believing in Christ with 
all the heart, or receiving Christ with all the heart, doth imply. I 

1. It implieth that your whole and sole dependence must be entirely 
carried out to him. God will have no rivals in the trust and confidence 
of the creature. A king in his progress, that takes up an inn, will 
have it wholly to himself, much less will he have any to share with 
him in his own bedchamber. So here, you must trust Christ alone 
with your welfare. We believe with our whole heart when we have 
such a persuasion of his sufficiency that we durst venture all in his 
hands ; in matter of remission of sin we mind no confidence but in 
his grace : Heb. x. 22, Let us draw near with a true heart, in full 
assurance of faith, a\rj0ivfj KapSta, a heart that doth not secretly run 
out to other props and confidences. Truth and sincerity in believing 
is there intended, not in obedience. Faith is a simple single trust in 
God s mercy ; the heart is very deceitful. Christ beareth the name, 
but the confidence is secretly built on our own merits ; as those women 
in Isaiah, chap. iv. 1, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own 
apparel, only let us be called by thy name. People will say they trust 
in Christ alone, and yet secretly rest on their own innocency and good 
meanings. But most sensibly this perverseness of trust is discovered 
in matters of providence ; those that put half their trust in Christ, and 
half in the world, do not believe with their whole hearts. They pre 
tend they can trust Christ for pardon, grace, and glory, and yet cannot 
trust him for a morsel of bread ; they find no difficulty in believing in 
Christ for salvation and remission of sins, and yet cannot believe that 
he will give them daily bread. What should be the reason ? Heaven 
and pardon of sins are greater mercies, and, if conscience were opened, 
we should see the difficulty to obtain them to be greater. There are 
more natural prejudices, but bodily wants are more pressing to a con 
science not sufficiently convinced. And here faith is presently to be 
exercised with difficulties. In matters of grace, men are more slight 
and inconsiderate, and content themselves with some general cold per 
suasions, and therefore do not believe with their whole hearts. Alas ! 
temporal salvation is more easy. Can you look for heaven, who cannot 
trust him for a crust of bread ? Do you know what it is to venture 
your souls in Christ s hands, notwithstanding sins, notwithstanding 
death, and yet soon despond in time of danger, and when outward 
means of preservation fail ? 

2. To receive Christ with the whole heart is to receive him as an all- 
sufficient saviour, when every faculty seeketh contentment in Christ. 


We ought not only to acknowledge him to be the true mediator, but 
to choose and receive him for our all-sufficient portion. Worldly men 
look to Christ as fit for their consciences, but look to the world as an 
object for their affections. Now Christ should not only pacify the 
conscience, but satisfy the heart. We should come to him, not only 
as a physician to heal our wounds, but as a husband to satisfy and 
content our love, as a meet object for our affections. The whole soul 
is to clasp about him. He is not only good in a way of profit, but 
amiable in a way of excellency ; therefore the whole heart is to be given 
him. The things of the world are good but for one thing ; food is 
good to satisfy the appetite, yet we must have clothes to warm the back. 
But Christ is good for all things; he is not only the physician of the 
soul, but the beloved : Ps. Ixxiii. 25, Whom have I in heaven but 
thee ? and there is none on earth that I desire besides thee ; since 
there *is none so fit to match and wed their affections. 

3. To receive him with the whole heart is to make after him with 
the earnest motions and lively affections of the soul, as desire and 
delight. Carnal men have a naked imaginary persuasion, but no lively 
affections to Christ, unless it be for a very small while. They nevec 
felt the bitterness of sin, and so have not such vehement and strong 
motions of heart towards Christ. Conviction of conscience differeth 
much from literal assent. Carnal men have a literal assent, and a 
speculative delight in contemplation, but not such labour and travail of 
soul to get an interest in Christ. Swimming is for life and death ; it is 
not a work proper for him that standeth on firm land, but for those 
that are ready to be swallowed up of the waves. Nor have they such 
delight ; a stomach always full knoweth not the sweetness of bread. 
Christ relisheth only with troubled consciences. 

Use of the whole. Well, then, you see that there is required to 
faith, 71/0)0-49 and \rj-^ri^, knowledge and receiving. 

1. JV&icri?, knowledge. There is a knowledge before faith, in faith, 
and after faith. Before faith ; a man must know what he believes, or 
else he cannot believe. See scriptures : John x. 38, That ye may 
know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him ; 1 John iv. 
16, We have known, and have believed the love that God hath to us ; 
John vi. 69, We know and believe that thou art Christ. We must 
first know before we can believe. In faith there is a knowledge, an 
apprehension as well as discourse, a pregnant apprehension. Faith is 
a clear light, it freeth the soul from the mists of prejudice, by repre 
senting God in the all-sufficiency of grace and power : Heb. xi. 3, 
Through faith we understand that the world was framed by the word 
of God. It puzzled the philosophers, but faith maketh all clear. After 
faith, 2 Peter i. 5, Add to your faith, virtue ; and to virtue, know 
ledge. Faith is the fruit of knowledge, knowledge is the fruit of faith. 
So Ps. cxix. 66, Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I have 
believed thy commandments; that is, a fuller manifestation. First 
we receive the word by faith, then we know more. Oportet discenlem 
credere. First we know that it is, then how it is. The ground of 
faith is that they are revealed. How or what they are we learn by 
more acquaintance and experience. Light is always increasing, most 
necessary to the Christian life. Faith is as knowledge is, more or less 

VER. 8.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvu. 237 

explicit, yet not so explicit but that there is some implicitness in it, 
as long as we live here : 1 John iii. 2, It doth not yet appear what we 
shall be ; but this we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be 
like him. We have not a particular account, not a reason of the 
thing, but we have a reason why we believe it. 

2. Aij-\ln<i. This is a proper act of faith. God is always on the 
giving, and we on the receiving hand ; we receive the word, we receive 
Christ, and we receive remission of sins, and glory ; the main of our 
duty is but a receiving. 

Let me press you to receive the word, to receive Christ. 

1. Keceive the word, give it a kind entertainment. There is an act 
of consideration ; meditate upon it seriously, that truth may not float 
in the understanding, but sink into the heart : Luke ix. 44, Let these 
sayings sink down into your hearts. Believe it : the truth is a sovereign 
remedy ; but there wanteth one ingredient to make it work, and that is 
faith : Heb. iv. 2, The word preached did not profit them, not being 
mixed with faith in them that heard it. There is an act of the will 
and affections, which is called, a receiving the truth in love, 2 Thes. 

11. 10. Make room for it, that carnal affections may not vomit and 
throw it up again. Christ complaineth that his word had no place in 
them/ John viii. 37, ov ^copel ev VJMV, like a queasy stomach possessed 
with choler, that casts up all that is taken into it : 1 Cor. ii. 14, A 
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. Let it 
lodge, and quietly exercise a sovereign command over the soul. 

2. Receive Christ in the word. In a contract, there is not only a 
receiving a bond, but, by virtue of the bond, an inheritance conveyed 
to us. So you must not only receive the word ; we are not saved by 
giving credit to any maxim of religion, fides non est assensus axiomati. 
Not they that saw the ark many saw it, and scoffed but they that 
were in it, were saved from drowning. When a man is ready to 
perish in the floods, it is not enough to see land, but we must reach it, 
stand upon it, if we would be safe. It is not a naked contemplation, 
but a real implantation into Christ. Now, if you will know it, what 
ever was in Christ in the history, must be in you in the mystery. You 
are adopted sons, 1 John iii. 1. Christ must be formed and conceived 
in you, Gal. iv. 19. You must suffer, and be crucified to the world 
and sin, Rom. vi. 6. You must be buried and raised up again, Col. ii. 

12. All is to be done in a spiritual manner. I speak not this to turn 
all scripture into an allegory, but every act of Christ hath some spiritual 

So much for these two acts or parts of faith, they have known surely, 
and have received thy word. 

Before I go off from this clause, there are two or three observations 
to be raised, especially if we compare this verse with John xvi. 27-31, 
For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and 
believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father, 
and am come into the world : again, I leave the world, and go to the 
Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, 
and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all 
things, and needest not that any man should ask thee : by this we 
believe that thou earnest forth from God. Jesus answered them. Do 


ye now believe? From whence I observe, tbat this was but a late 
acknowledgment : ver. 30, Now we are sure, and by this we believe, 
that thou earnest forth from God. And presently, within au hour, 
Christ commendeth it to his Father, They have known surely, and 
have believed. 

1. Observe, how ready Christ is to take notice of the good that is 
wrought in us. He watcheth for an occasion to commend us to God. 
Satan and his instruments, they watch for our halting : Jer. xx. 10, 
All my familiars watched for my halting, peradventure he will be 
enticed. Let us watch, say they, we may have matter against him. 
The devil is a spy, that lieth upon the catch that he may frame an 
accusation against you before God (a dog doth not wait for a bit from 
his master s trencher, more than he doth for a passionate word) some 
evil gesture and practice, whereof to accuse us ; so his instruments 
watch to defame you in the world. But now Jesus Christ looketh after 
matter of praise and commendation. Now we know verily, and 
believe ; and Christ presently telleth his Father of it. Oh ! what an 
encouragement should this be to press us to grow in knowledge, and to 
abound in every good work ! You furnish your intercessor with matter 
of praise, and give your advocate an advantage against your accuser. 
Christ watcheth for a good action as the devil doth for a bad. He is 
a swift witness, not only against his adversaries, but for his people : 
Mai. iii. 5, I will come near to you in judgment, and I will be a swift 
witness against the sorcerers, &c. He cometh to convince them sooner 
than they are aware ; none of their sins are unknown to him, and they 
are brought in court before they dream of it. And the godly have a 
witness in heaven too. So Job xvi. 20, Behold, my witness is in 
heaven, and my record is on high. And he is a swift witness ; we 
reap the fruit of many actions as soon as they are performed. A 
continual experience we have of this disposition of Christ in the speedy 
answer of prayers : Isa. Ixiv. 24, And it shall come to pass, that before 
they call, I will answer ; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear/ 
He is more ready to answer than we to crave. So it is said to Daniel, 
Dan. x. 12, From the first day that thou didst set thine heart to under 
stand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard/ 
See God s readiness to accept the services of his people ; in the first day 
of the three weeks he had set apart, ver. 2. Daniel thought it would 
be long work, and God heard him the first day. Certainly God de- 
lighteth in the graces of his children, when he doth so readily take 
notice of the first act and exercise of them. 

2. I observe, by comparing that place with this, that the apostles 
faith was weak, not only imperfect, but inconstant, and subject to 
wavering, and yet Christ commendeth it to his Father : John xvi. 30, 
31, 32, We are sure thou knowest all things, and needest not that any 
man should tell thee : by this we believe that thou earnest forth from 
God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe ? behold, the hour 
cometh, and now is, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, 
and shall leave me alone. Yea, and indeed, if we look into the history 
of the gospel, we shall find their faith was very weak. It is true they 
did receive him for the Messiah, and did acknowledge that he was the 
Son of God, his natural and only Son, which they knew by his baptism, 

VER. 8.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvir. 239 

by his transfiguration, by his miracles ; they believed that he was the 
Lamb taking away the sins of the world, that he was the living manna 
that came down from heaven ; but all this while their faith was weak ; 
they had but a confused sight of his godhead, of his eternal generation 
by the Father ; they knew little of his death, were leavened with the 
thoughts of a terrene kingdom and pompous Messiah ; understood not 
his predictions of his death and passion. Peter gave him advice to the 
contrary, and at his death denied him. So that though they knew him 
to be the Kedeemer and Saviour of the world, yet the manner of his 
death and passion they knew not : We trusted that it had been he 
that should have redeemed Israel, Luke xxiv. 21. Observe how Christ 
commendeth weak faith. Certainly he loveth to encourage poor sin 
ners when he praiseth their mean and weak beginnings : Mat. xii. 20, 
A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not 
quench, until he send forth judgment unto victory/ Christ will not 
despise weak beginnings, though there be more^smoke than flame, but 
little strength. Certainly we should not despise the day of small 
things, nor discourage learners, and blast the early blossoms with re 
proach and censure : Cant. ii. 13, The fig-tree putteth forth her green 
figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Christ 
taketh notice in his garden of the green figs ; the green knots or buds 
are acceptable to him, though they want ripeness and sweetness, as well 
as the softer clusters, the imperfect offers of the spring. We should 
learn hence to do our best in believing ; Christ will help you against 
weakness, and pardon imperfection. 

3. Observe again, from Christ s mentioning their obedience, their 
knowledge, their faith. The Father knew for whom Christ prayed ; 
neither was there need to set forth their faith and obedience in so many 
words, but that in the hearing of the apostles he would draw forth the 
grounds of their thankfulness, and the evidences of their interest. 
Well, then, this is the use we should make of our graces and duties, 
to praise the Lord, and to look upon them as so many arguments and 
evidences of his love ; partly to show them what kind of persons God 
will hear, such as know, and believe, and obey, though in a weak 

Thirdly, The next thing in the text is the chief object of justifying 
faith, and that is the authority of Christ s mediation. 

Observe, the sum of Christian doctrine is to show that Christ was 
sent by God to save sinners. This is the ground of all hope and firm 
confidence ; he came out from the Father to purchase grace, and went 
back again that we might receive it. 

But let us consider the parts. 

1 . They have surely known that I came out from thee. This may 
be expounded two ways : (1.) From thy essence, by eternal genera 
tion ; (2.) By thy command, as mediator. If you take the former 
sense, it showeth that the authority of Christ and of his Father were 
equal ; he came out from him. If you take the latter, it denotes their 
equal charity and love ; the Father sent him ; and out of the same love, 
the Son came out from the Father ; he assumed flesh, emptied himself, 
and performed the office of a mediator, committed to him by the 


Which is to be preferred ? Some say the first, Trapa a-ov e 
it is a word proper to the natural generation of the Son : Micah v. 2, 
Whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting. The Spirit s 
procession is expressed by e/cTropeuercu, as the generation of Son by 
e^ep^erai. It is said of none of the saints that they come out from 
God. But though this eternal generation must not be excluded, yet 
that which is chiefly intended here is that he came out by the command 
of God as mediator, as is clear by that place, John xvi. 28, I came 
forth from my Father, and am come into the world ; again I leave the 
world, and go unto the Father. It is applied to his appearing as 
mediator before God. 

Observe the great love of Christ, in that he came out from God for 
our sakes. 

[1.] Consider from whom he came, from the Father, from his bosom, 
from the full fruition of the godhead, from the centre of rest, the seat 
of blessedness. We shall know what place the bosom of the Father is, 
when we shall come to heaven, and shall be glorified with Christ. 

[2.] How he came ; not in pomp, or the equipage of a prince, but in 
the form of a servant. He was lord of all things, but he came now as 
the servant of God s decrees : John vi. 38, I came down from heaven, 
not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. He was 
God s servant, not upon terms of grace ; his covenant was a covenant 
of works : Isa. liii. 11, He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall 
be satisfied ; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many. 
He was subject to worldly powers, a servant of rulers, Isa. xlix. 7. 
He voluntarily submitted himself to worldly powers. Nay, he came 
to be our servant : Mat. xx. 28, Even as the Son of man came not to 
be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for 
many. He came to serve in the ministry of the gospel, to lay aside 
all the interests of his human nature : Kom. xv. 3, Even as Christ 
pleased not himself. 

[3.] For whom he came, for wretched men, to seat us in the vacant 
places of fallen angels. 

2. And they have believed that thou hast sent me. There is a 
mission on God s part, as well as obedience on Christ s. 

Observe the love of God in sending Christ, and giving him a charge 
concerning us. This sending implieth distinction, but not inferiority. 
Persons equal by mutual consent may send one another. The Father 
sent him because in the business of salvation the original authority is 
said to reside in God the Father. God would not trust an angel with 
your salvation, but sent his own Son : 1 John iv. 9, 10, In this was 
manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only- 
begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Here 
in is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his 
Son to be the propitiation for our sins. He thought nothing too dear 
nor too near for us. His Son was not sent to treat with us, but to take 
our nature, to be substituted into our room and place. But this point, 
of God s sending Christ, hath fallen under our consideration in hand 
ling other verses of this chapter. 

VER. 9.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 241 


I pray for them : I pray not for the world, but for them ivhich than 
hast given me ; for they are thine. JOHN XVII. 9. 

CHRIST, having urged several arguments on the behalf of the disciples, 
cometh now to limit his prayers to them, which is a new argument : 
I pray for none but those which thou hast given me ; not for obsti 
nate persecutors and perverse rebels, but for thine own, thy charge 
put into my hands. If I had prayed for any which belong not to the 
purpose of thy grace, thou mightest deny me ; but I pray not for the 
world, but for thine/ therefore hear me. 
In the words you have : 

1. The object of Christ s prayer. 

2. The object limited, I pray for them ; which is amplified nega 
tively by a refusal to pray for others, I pray not for the world. 

3. The reasons, thou hast given them me, and they are thine ; mine 
by oppignoration, not alienation, thy charge put into mine hands. I 
have a charge over them, and thou hast a right in them. Christ was 
tender of his charge, and the Father still loved and owned them. 
Thy right and propriety is not lost by thy donation, but confirmed, 
for they are thine. It is not only a reason of the donation, but an 
argument that Christ useth in prayer. 

First, The great matter, that needeth not so much to be cleared as 
to be vindicated, is Christ s refusal to pray for the world. It needeth 
not to be cleared, because Christ doth expressly limit the persons, I 
pray for them ; he doth not only explain it, whom he meaneth by 
them, those which thou hast given me ; which explication, if no 
thing else had been added, would have been exclusive, and would 
have amounted to them, and only them ; but he doth himself exclude 
the world from having any share in his prayers. By the world, he 
rneaneth the reprobate world, not only the unregenerate elect, who are 
sometimes called the world, but reprobos amatores swculi, as the Car 
thusian, the reprobate perverse world. 

But some object, and it is fit they should be heard : 

1. That the apostles only are here intended, and that there is not a 
distinction between the elect and reprobate, but between the apostles 
and others ; for afterwards Christ prayeth for others that shall be 
lieve through their word, ver. 20. I answer 

[1.] The apostles are chiefly intended, but not only ; elsewhere doth 
he pray for the disciples and believers of that age ; there were more 
than the eleven apostles, and if they be excluded, they have no name 
in Christ s prayer. 

[2.] All others besides the apostles could not be reckoned to be in 
the world ; now here is a perfect distribution of men into two ranks 
those that were given him, and the world. 

2. Others say that the words are not to be taken as utterly exclu 
sive, but only that he prayed not for the world in this place ; the re 
quests of fatherly protection, the gift of the Spirit, love and concord, 
being only proper to them that did actually believe : elsewhere, they 

VOL. x. Q 


say, they find Christ praying for the world. They bring that place 
for one, Luke xxiii. 24, Father, forgive them ; for they know not what 
they do ; where he prayed for his persecutors, some of which never 
were converted. I answer 

[1.] We must distinguish the prayers of Christ as a holy man, and 
the prayers of Christ as mediator. So Camero. Qweri, p. 44, &c. ; 
Gomarus in locum, and Eainoldus de Intercessione, &c. As he was a 
holy man, he was to lay aside all show of revenge. This was not a 
prayer by virtue of his office as mediator, but in answer to his duty, 
as he was subject to the law, and a private person. Those things 
which he did in obedience to the law as a private person were not acts 
of mediation ; they were acts of the mediator, but not as mediator. He 
taught us to pray for enemies : Mat. v. 44, Love your enemies, bless 
them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them 
that despitefully use you, and persecute you. Eevenge is forbidden, 
and pardon and prayer enjoined. 

[2.] Christ did not pray for all his persecutors, and every one of 
them, but only for those that sinned out of ignorance, as the words 
imply ; chiefly for the standers-by, rather than the priests and pharisees, 
many of which came rather out of curiosity than despite. Yea, this 
supplication was effectual and successful to all the elect intended. This 
prayer brought in three thousand, Acts ii. 41, who are charged with 
Christ s death, ver. 23 and 36, and again five thousand, Acts iv. 4, who 
are charged with ignorance in this matter : Acts iii. 15, And killed 
the prince of life ; ver. 17, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, 
as did also your rulers/ 

3. Again, they urge, ver. 21, That the world may believe that thou 
hast sent me. Some say that by the ivorld is meant the unregenerate 
elect. This, though it blunteth the force of the objection, yet I think 
it not so full an answer. 

[1.] Because it is not directly -made for them. Mark, it is not a 
prayer, but a reason of prayer ; Christ would have prayed more directly 
for the unregenerate elect. 

[2.] He would have prayed for a more effectual means of conversion 
than the beholding the unity and concord of his church : That they 
may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee ; that they also 
may be one in us, that the world may know that thou hast sent me. 

[3.] The word world, in this whole chapter, is taken for the re 
probate world, or those which are opposed to them which are committed 
to him by his Father. 

[4.] The substance of that prayer is for the elect not yet converted, 
for Christ prayeth for all that shall believe through their word, ver. 
20. And then, thaC they may be all one, &c., that the world may 
believe that thou hast sent me ; so that the unregenerate elect are not 
intended. Well, but then doth Christ pray for the reprobate world, 
that they may a believe ? I answer No ; faith or believing is there 
taken for a more full conviction, that they may be convinced and 
rendered more inexcusable. It is not taken in a strict sense, for a 
saving comprehension and receiving of Christ, but for a conviction and 
acknowledgment. Divisions in the church usually breed atheism in 
the world ; all is false when so many ways and differences. So think 

VER. 9.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 243 

they Christ is an impostor, the word a fable. Now this kind of con 
viction is not only termed believing in scripture, but explained,, ver. 
23, That the world may know that thou hast sent me. Nay, let us 
grant that faith is taken in the highest and strictest sense ; yet there 
is a difference between praying for such a thing as may be a likely 
means of working faith, and praying that they may believe. Christ 
only prayeth that his people may be one, that the world may not 
plead prejudice ; at most, he doth but obliquely reflect upon the world 
in that prayer, that they may have means of conviction, but not grace. 
Christ denieth that the world either hath, or ever shall have, the grace 
of faith : ver. 25, righteous Father, the world hath not known thee ; 
but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me/ 
And the special reason why the elect have known, though the world 
have not known, is rendered, ver. 26, I have declared unto them thy 
name, and will declare it ; by which is meant the special manifestation 
of his grace given to believers of all ages, which was given to the 
disciples of that present age, and will be given to all future believers. 
A serious consideration of the context will refute all these sophisms. 
Thus I have taken off the objections. 

Let me handle one doubt more. But if they were absolutely pre 
destinated, why doth Christ pray for them ? 

I answer Predestination includeth all things that are necessary to 
the salvation of the predestinated ; and so the prayers of Christ must 
be taken in as well as other means. 

Take an argument or two why Christ did not, could not, doth not 
pray for the reprobate world. This prayer must either argue : 

1. A nescience of his Father s decrees, which cannot stand with the 
unity of his person, especially as now in glory. While upon earth he 
knew it, and approved it, that God by an immutable decree had left 
some to be justly hardened to their own ruin : Mat. xi. 25, 26, I 
thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid 
these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto 
babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight/ Or 

2. A contradiction to his will and express decree. It is true we do 
not sin by asking a thing contrary to God s decree ; as when I ask a 
parent s life, whom God hath determined to cut off by such a sickness, 
which I know not ; but if I did, it is no rule to me. But now God s 
decree was a rule to Christ in his mediatory actions, as the moral law 
was a rule to his moral actions ; and therefore when the decree of God 
called for one thing, and the moral law for another, Christ was both 
to show his moral affections and mediatory obedience : Father, let 
this cup pass ; nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt, Mat. xxvi. 
39. There was an innocent desire of nature, but an express submission 
to his Father s will. 

3. Because all Christ s prayers were to be grounded on a promise. 
There was an indenture drawn up between him and his Father ; he 
had the assurance to be heard in whatsoever he asked : Ps. ii. 8, Ask 
of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the 
uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession; John xi.42, I knew 
that thou nearest me always/ Therefore he must needs exclude the 
reprobate world out of his prayers. 



First, Let us look upon it as a mediatory action. 

1. Observe, here was the first solemn offer of Christ s mediation 
between God and man, and therefore upon this place we may ground 
the doctrine of his intercession, I pray for them. 

Here I shall speak of (1.) The person who is the intercessor; 
(2.) The nature of the intercession; (3.) The privileges and fruits 
of it. 

1. The intercessor, I pray. The Syriac twice repeateth the pro 
noun ; I, even I, pray for them ; it is not an ordinary high priest, but 
I ; I that am thy beloved and only-begotten Son, co-eternal, and con- 
substantial with thyself ; I that have glorified thee upon earth, and 
done thy work ; I that am holy and harmless ; I whose prayers thou 
hast promised to hear ; I who am an authorised mediator, sent into 
the world for this purpose. There are all these advantages in the 
intercession of Christ, let us go over them a little briefly. I shall 
refer them to these heads the dignity and dearness of his person, the 
sublimity of his office, the value of his satisfaction, the articles of the 
covenant, or the promise of being heard. 

[1.] The person of Christ ; and there you have 

(1.) His dignity, he is God-man, and so fit for this office : Job ix. 
33, Neither is there any daysman between us, that might lay his 
hand upon us both. He communicates with God in the same nature, 
and we with him ; he is our brother, and God s fellow. Our kinsman 
is in the court of heaven, pleading for us ; he appeareth there in our 
nature, to set on our salvation. We need not be ashamed to go to him, 
nor he to go to God. He is of near alliance to us, and to God himself, 
God s own natural Son ; which doth not only give him a power to 
prevail with God, but a sufficiency to do us good. None but Christ 
could serve our turn in this matter. Who can know all our needs, all 
our sins, all our thoughts, all our desires, all our prayers, all our pur 
poses, and wait upon our business with God night and day, that no 
wrath break out upon us, but Jesus Christ, who hath his constant 
residence in heaven at his Father s right hand ? There is an all- 
sufficiency required to intercession, as well as oblation. 

(2.) The dearness of his person, called, his dear Son, Col. i. 13, 
the Son of his love, one with him. God bids him ask what he will : 
Ps. ii. 8, Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thy inherit 
ance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. When 
Christ came first into heaven, he was to make his demand. He pro 
claimed it on earth when Christ was baptized, consecrated to God for 
the priesthood : Mat. iii. 17, Lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This 
is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased. There was such 
perfect love and consent of mind between God and Christ, that if he 
had never died, God could not have denied him anything. 

[2.] The value of his satisfaction. Christ is an intercessor not by 
entreaty, but by merit : John xvii. 4, I have glorified thy name on 
earth, I have finished the work that -thou gavest me to do/ The 
greatest work that ever could be done, if you respect the importance 
of it. The creating of a thousand worlds would not bring in such a 
revenue to heaven as this one work of redemption ; or the difficulty of 

VER. 9.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvu. 245 

it, the Son of God to be made flesh, sin, a curse, states most abhorrent 
from the felicity of the divine nature ; or his willingness to undertake 
it, Lo, I come to do thy will. He longed to be at it ; though he had 
infinite complacency in the bosom of the Father, yet as soon as God 
had made a habitable world, Prov. viii. 30; 31, There I was by him, 
as one brought up with him ; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing 
always before him, rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth, and 
my delights were with the sons of men. He longed for that time 
when he might leave the company of angels and dwell among us, and 
feasted himself with the thoughts of his own grace. And with so 
much faithfulness : I not only finished the work, but glorified thee ; 
all he did was for his Father s glory. This could Christ plead as the 
ground of his requests ; he hath paid for all that he asketh, not only 
made satisfaction for sin, but given a price for glory. He cannot 
out-ask his own merit ; his blood speaketh if Christ should hold his 
peace : Heb. xii. 24, And to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh 
better things than that of Abel s. As clamorous as Abel s blood for 
vengeance. It doth not speak against us, though we have made him 
to serve with our iniquities, but speaks the more for us, to pacify his 
wrath, to pardon us, and to do us good. 

[3.] The sublimity of his office. It is an authoritative act. God 
hath always refused such mediation as is not authorised by himself. 
When Moses interposed for the children of Israel, said God, Exod. 
xxxii. 10, Let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them ; 
because he would reserve this honour for him who alone hath this 
office under the broad seal of heaven. So it is very notable that Christ 
refused all mediation to him in the days of his flesh. As of his apostles : 
Mat. xv. 23, His disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her 
away, for she crieth after us, &c. But Christ would show that he 
was solicitous enough for the welfare of sinners, he needed no inter 
cessors. So his own mother, when she interposed for the honour of 
the wedding : John ii. 4, Woman, saith he, what have I to do with 
thee ? As if he had said, Cannot I do it without your intermeddling ? 
In these answers, Christ would show that he would have sinners come 
of themselves, without any mediation of their fellow-creatures, they 
being no authorised mediators. God alloweth no other mediator of 
redemption but Christ, and Christ no other mediator of intercession 
but himself. It is sacrilege in the Papists to set up others ; none is 
worthy to appear before God but Christ ; and how unworthy soever 
we are, Christ will have us to come to himself. God hath set him 
up for this purpose, and no copartners are allowed. As it was said to 
Uzziah, 2 Chron. xxvi. 18, It pertaineth not to thee to burn incense, 
but to the priests, the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn 
incense. Incense could be offered by no other but a priest, and our 
prayers by none but by Christ : Heb. vii. 28, The law maketh men 
priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was 
since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore. 
Christ is consecrated by an oath to abide evermore in the office, which 
oath is renewed and confirmed upon his return to heaven : Ps. ex. 4, 
The Lord hath sworn, arid will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, 
after the order of Melchisedeck ; compared with ver. 1. God will 


never repent of dispensing grace in and through him to sinners ; as 
long as Christ s consecration lasteth, none must meddle with his office. 

[4.] The articles of the covenant, or the promise of being heard. 
Therefore Christ speaketh with such confidence : John xi. 42, I 
know that thou nearest me always ; and Ps. ii. 8, Ask of me, and I 
will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance/ &c. There was a 
covenant drawn up between God and Christ ; the Lord promised him, 
as the fruit of his labours and sufferings, that he should obtain all 
manner of grace for his people. All these things show us the advan 
tages of having such a mediator and intercessor. 

2. The nature of Christ s intercession . It is a part of his priestly 
office, of which there were two acts oblation and intercession. Obla 
tion was made once on the altar of the cross, and intercession is the 
continuation of his sacrifice, or the presenting it in heaven. It must 
be explained by analogy to the priests of the law. The sacrifice was 
slain without the camp, and then the priests were to enter with the 
blood within the veil, into the holy of holies, with sweet incense, and 
so to cause a cloud to arise over the mercy-seat. But Christ being 
come, an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more 
perfect tabernacle, not made with hands ; that is to say, not of this 
building ; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own 
blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal 
redemption for us/ Heb. ix. 11, 12. Jesus Christ having offered up 
himself upon the cross, where he was both priest and sacrifice, he is 
gone within the veil, Not into the holy places made with hands, 
which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear 
before the presence of God for us/ Heb. ix. 24. It is not a vocal, but 
a real intercession. Christ is gone into heaven, and there presents his 
person, both in our nature and his own, together with his merits, lift 
ing up desires which are as a cloud of incense before the mercy-seat, 
for our comfort and salvation : Rev. viii. 3, And another angel came 
and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given 
unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all 
saints upon the golden altar, which was before the throne/ The high 
priest entered not for himself, but for the people, having the names of 
the twelve tribes upon his breast and shoulders ; so Christ is entered 
on the behalf of us all, bearing the particular memorial of every saint 
graven upon his heart. The high priest staid within the sanctuary for 
a short time, and so came out to bless the people ; Christ entered within 
the veil at his ascension, and we must wait till his coming out to bless 
us, which will be at the day of judgment. All this while he hath his 
residence in heaven, and then he will open to us and give us entrance. 
So that Christ s intercession is A constant representation of his merit 
for the pardon of our sins, and for our acceptance ; together with strong 
desires conceived in the human nature for the good of the creature, for 
all their exigencies and employments, that so his whole purchase may 
be applied to us, and we may receive grace to help in time of need. 
It is a representing of his own merit, the worthiness of his person. As 
God-man, he is the Son of God, yet the creature s advocate ; and the 
merit of his obedience and passion : I have glorified thee upon the 
earth ; as one that was to plead for his life showed cubitum sine manu, 

VER. 9.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 247 

his hand lost in the service of the state. All this is to the Father, who 
being appeased, all the rest of the persons are appeased ; for they are 
one, and agree in one. He pleads with God for the application of good 
things procured by his oblation, especially in deep exigencies and con 
flicts. Christ hath knowledge at other times, but then he hath a fellow- 
feeling: Heb. iv. 15, We have not an high priest that cannot be 
touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points 
tempted like as we are, yet without sin. His heart is entendered by 
his own experience. 

3. The fruits and benefits of this intercession. They are many ; I 
shall name the chiefest. 

[1.] This secures our justification and the pardon of our sins. Christ 
watcheth against what objections justice makes, and against Satan s 
wiles, and that we ourselves, by our daily breaches, may not cast our 
selves out of the favour of God. He justifieth us against the accus 
ations of enemies, covereth our sins from the sight of God : Kom. viii. 
34, Who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ that died, yea, rather 
that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also 
maketh intercession for us. So Zech. iii. 1, 2, there is our advocate 
and accuser : He showed me Joshua, the high priest, standing before 
the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist 
him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, Satan, 
even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee/ When we 
are summoned by the justice of God to defend ourselves against the 
exceptions and complaints which are preferred against us, our attorney 
appeareth in our name and behalf ; so when Satan accuseth us day and 
night, he makes up all the breaches that fall out between God and us : 
1 John ii. 1, If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, 
even Jesus Christ the righteous. When we have mudded the stream, 
Christ maketh all clear again. 

[2.] The acceptation of all our persons, works, and services : 1 Peter 
ii. 5, We are made an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, 
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ/ We communicate with Christ in 
all his offices ; we are spiritual priests, consecrated to him by baptism. 
The ordinary priests were first consecrated in the great laver before 
they were to offer sacrifices ; so we are purified and cleansed in the 
laver of regeneration, and then offer to God these sacrifices. As Christ 
was temple, priest, and sacrifice, so are we. God dwelleth in us as in 
a temple : 2 Cor. vi. 16, Ye are the temple of the living God ; As the 
godhead dwelt in Christ bodily, Col. ii. 9. We are consecrated to be 
priests to God, being sanctified by him, cleansed in the laver of his 
blood, our persons received into favour. And then we offer ourselves, 
bodies, services to God ; and so we perform duties acceptable to him ; 
because when we act the priest, Christ acteth it over again, presents 
our services to God in his censer : Kev. viii. 3, Another angel came 
and stood at the altar, having a golden censer, and there was given 
unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all 
saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. He puts no 
filth nor dross into his golden censer. As the priests under the law 
were to examine the sacrifice before it was offered to the Lord, so doth 
Christ examine our services, not to reject them, but to better them in 


his own oblation ; and so by his intercession our duties and all the 
good works of our lives are recommended to God. 

[3.] It encourageth us to come to the throne of grace with boldness. 
God would have prayer in heaven to encourage us to prayer on earth ; 
Christ is always with God to set on every request. This is the copy of 
Christ s intercession. Besides, you have the groans of the Spirit in 
your hearts : Eom. viii. 26, The Spirit itself rnaketh intercession in 
us, with groanings that cannot be uttered. Christ is our advocate, the 
Spirit our notary, we the solicitors : Isa. Ixii. 6, 7, Ye that make 
mention of the Lord keep not silence, and give him no rest, &c. We 
may know what Christ is doing for us in heaven by the work upon our 
hearts. Oh ! then, let us never rest till we have an interest in his 
intercession. This is the great prop of our faith and confidence, to 
know that we are comprehended in Christ s prayers. You have a friend 
in court, he hath liberty of immediate access, he is a favourite, the 
Father loveth him, and you for his sake. Our friend prayeth to our 
dear Father for his own children. When Joab saw the thing was 
pleasing to David, he interceded for Absalom, 2 Sam. xiv. 1. God 
can deny him nothing ; if you have ten thousand accusers it is no 
matter, your advocate will answer all their accusations. Never leave 
till you get it evidenced that it is your privilege; choose him, go to 
God by him, ratify God s appointment by your own choice. Faith is 
a consent ; wait for the Spirit s intercession ; those groans will end in 
joys. It is the great comfort of the church that we Tiave such a 
mediator, who will effectually plead our cause with the Father. 

We may look upon it as a moral, as well as a mediatory act, an act 
of Christ s love to his own disciples, chiefly the apostles, who were, as 
it were, his family and special charge. 

Out of this example of Christ let us learn to pray one for another ; 
it is a spiritual act of love. You may discern the hypocrisy and sin 
cerity of your love to others by your carelessness or seriousness in 
prayer for them ; for if we desire a thing, we will pray for it with 
importunity. By this the saints have communion with one another at 
a distance. 

Chiefly this concerneth ministers for their charge ; they should be of 
Samuel s temper ; though he had received affronts from Israel, God 
forbid that I should sin against the Lord, in ceasing to pray for you, 
1 Sam. xii. 23. Their sin doth not exempt you from the duty you 
owe to them for God s sake ; they look to a higher obligation than civil 
respects and an interchange of kindness. But especially are we bound 
to pray for them if, as the apostles here, they are gained to any degree 
of faith, knowledge, and obedience : 2 Thes. i. 11, We pray always 
for you, that God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all 
the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power/ 
What encouragement hath a minister to go to God for such, not only 
when you send for him in times of sickness, but always, as the apostle 
saith, in every address to God. It is sweet to give an account of the 
thriving lambs, and to desire the Lord to perfect his work. And it 
argueth in the minister sincerity to take pleasure in their gracious 
estate, and to account it, as it were, his own benefit that God hath any 
way blessed them with grace, which moveth him again to commend 


their case to God. Certainly if we have but any portion of the unity 
of the Spirit, or any share in the communion of saints, or any respect 
to God s glory, thus it would be. 

Again, it concerneth masters of families. Your family is your 
charge, given you of God ; pray for them in the bowels of love. You 
are to make an errand to the throne of grace, not only for yourselves, 
but your children and servants ; as the centurion came to Christ for 
his servant, Mat. viii. 6. If we did not want hearts, we could never 
want an occasion of recourse to God. By virtue of our relation we 
are to espouse the interests of our family, and to plead with God on 
their behalf, as we would on our own. Job is an excellent pattern : 
Job i. 5, he rose early, day by day, and offered burnt-offerings for his 
children, in the time of their feasting. His great care was to keep 
his children in the favour of God ; he knew no hurt in their feasting, 
had heard none by information ; yet because miscarriages are usual in 
the heat and license of feasts, the family should not be without a daily 
sacrifice : For Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and 
cursed God in their hearts. Up then betimes, as Job did, and milk 
out a blessing for your families ; not only in general, as men will put 
up cursory prayers, out of custom and use, for their families ; they 
pray God to bless their families ; but bring them forth by head and 
poll, and set them before the Lord, as Job offered sacrifices according 
to the number of his children ; or as Christ here, I pray for these, 
pointing to the apostles ; Lord ! for these, and every one of them. The 
occasion of Job s prayer is not manifest. If you do but suspect that 
a child hath such a disease, you will go to a physician. Should we 
have less care of their souls ? Christ says they live in an evil world, 
ver. 11, therefore he prays for them. 

Again, look on this prayer of Christ not only as an act of love to 
his charge and familiars, but as an act of prudence as to the apostles, 
who were to bring others to believe by their word : I pray for them ; 
I pray not for the world/ &c. These that are designed for the great 
work of the gospel, chiefly for them : they had to do with obstinate 
Jews and idolatrous Gentiles, and they had need take the blessing of 
Christ s prayers along with them. Ministers and dispensers of the 
mysteries of salvation above all men need the help of your prayers. 
How affectionately doth Paul call for this everywhere ! 1 Thes. v. 25, 
Brethren, pray for us. It is a duty you owe, and it may be not only 
of great comfort to us, but of great profit to yourselves. God would 
have all orders and estates in the church to be obliged to one another ; 
you for our instructions, we for your prayers : The head cannot say 
to the foot, I have no need of thee, 1 Cor. xii. 21. Our calling is 
encumbered with the more difficulties, and that we may be acquainted 
with all sorts of Satan s enterprises, our persons may be exposed to 
more temptations than yours. The many things requisite to make our 
ministry useful call for your prayers ; abilities, the right use of them ; 
fruit and success, that we may be able pastors, faithful, successful ; 
that we may have abilities, which are a common gain ; whatever gifts 
are bestowed on ministers, are for the people s profit ; that out of love 
of ease, or love of the world, or error, we may not mislead you, nor be 
disheartened for lack of success. Instead of praying for ministers, 


many now pray against them ; the calling is repined at, as if it were 
some heavy plague and judgment sent upon the world. But therefore 
you have need to pray the more : 2 Thes. iii. 2, That we may be 
delivered from unreasonable and wicked men ; for all men have not 
faith. Pray that the lights of the church be not eclipsed ; pray for 
our standing amidst the assaults of Satan. It is not enough to give 
us love and maintenance, but we must have your prayers. 

So much for the object of Christ s prayer. 

Secondly, Now for the limitation of that object: I pray not for the 
world, but for them that thou hast given me. Many things may be 
inferred out of this limitation. 

1. Universal redemption is disproved ; for those for whom Christ 
prayed not, for them he died not. These two offices of the priesthood 
must not be severed. Christ doth not only profess to pray for these, 
but denieth to pray for the world. His intercession is of the same 
latitude with his redemption ; they are acts of the same office, and of 
the same extent and latitude. All men were not intended in his 
passion and intercession. See sermon on 2 Cor. v. 16. 

2. The weakness of the world, notwithstanding all their outward 
props and supports ; although they be strong, and have many on their 
side, yet they have not Christ on their side. He hath left the world 
out of his prayers ; he will not so much as take their names into his 
lips. Therefore, Kom. viii. 31, If God be for us, who shall be against 
us ? What will that party do that have God against them ? Against 
how many will yon set me ? said Antigonus. You may shake your 
spear, and bid defiance against all the powers of darkness ; they have 
not Christ among them, he will not speak one good word for them ; 
they may have riches, honours, friends, countenance in the world, but 
God will never take their part. 

3. The dangerous and sad condition of worldly men. Oh ! it is a 
sad thing not have a name in Christ s prayer. There is a great num 
ber left out ; and if you will know who they are, they are called the 
world. It presseth us to come out of that state where we are in this 
clanger. Men that are now worldly may be in the roll of God s elec 
tion, but it is no comfort to them. I pray not for the world ; so it 
is expressed ; and as long as thou art worldly, thou canst take no 
comfort in Christ s intercession. Certainly this should be an effectual 
consideration with the people of God, to cause them to keep them 
selves unspotted from the world/ James i. 24. These have the benefit 
of Christ s prayers. A Christian should never be quiet till he be 
clearly out of that number which is excepted. Christ hath a constant 
enmity and antipathy against mammon ; there must be a separation 
from the world, and a contempt of earthly things, before we can have 
an interest in him. The world maketh a sport of these things ; but 
what can be more terrible than to be shut out of Christ s prayers ? 
He curseth those for whom he doth not pray ; and that is the reason why 
men that are besotted with the world do always wax worse and worse. 

4. The excellency of Christ s love to the saints : I pray for these, 
I pray not for the world. Christ s separate love to us heightens his 
kindness and our duty. It is not every one s mercy to be remembered 
in Christ s prayers ; millions are passed by, as many as may be called 

VEK. 9.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 251 

a world : John xiv. 22, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thy 
self unto us, and not unto the world ? So we may say, How is it that 
thou wilt pray for us, and not for the world ? Others that are better 
accomplished are left out, and we taken in. Man is taken with nothing 
so much as with privileges ; common favours seem to be a right of 
nature. It was certainly a sweet consideration to Noah, though he 
seemed to be buried alive in the ark, that he and his family were 
saved when all the world perished in the waters. At the day of 
judgment, how many millions of thanks shall we owe to Christ, when 
all the reprobates are gathered together, to consider, God hath chosen 
me, and not all these ; nay, of those reprobates, some are more excel 
lently accomplished, and yet God hath chosen me, and not Cato, me 
and not Socrates, me and not Plato, not the most excellent among the 
heathens! When Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the shore, 
Exod. xiv. 30, it heightened their deliverance. If God had saved all, 
it had been an infinite mercy ; but now many are damned, it is the 
more cause of thanksgiving to those that are saved. The sun is 
glorious and beautiful, but if every star had so much brightness, it 
would not be so admired. Chrysostom saith, It is a great means of 
thankfulness now and then to go into the spittals, and to look on the 
poor creatures that are rough-cast with sores. So it commends Christ s 
love, and should raise in us thankful acknowledgments, to consider 
Christ prayed for us, not for the world. 

5. By the example of Christ we should embrace them, and show 
special love to them, that are chosen out of the world. Christ saith, 
I pray for these ; I pray not for the world ; we should specially 
remember them in our prayers. The apostle saith concerning alms, 
Gal. vi. 10, As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all 
men, especially unto them that are of the household of faith. Christ 
saith, Ps. xvi. 3, 4, My goodness extendeth to the saints that are in 
the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. Their 
sorrows shall be multiplied, that hasten after another God; their 
drink-offerings of blood will I not offer ; nor take up their names into my 
lips. Christ will not mention them. Some think it is to be applied to 
the idols ; rather to the persons ; the whole psalm is applied to Christ. 

But here ariseth a doubt : Are we not to pray for wicked men, yea, 
the impenitent, the persecutors of the church, contemners of the word ? 
I answer 

1. Yea ; partly because we know not the secret purposes of God s 
grace. Christ, in the light of his divinity, knew the elect and the 
reprobate ; but we know not, therefore we are to pray for them that 
persecute, Mat v. 44. Paul once breathed out threatenings against 
the church ; Christ received gifts for the rebellious. Partly because 
many wicked men are considerable in their station, therefore, at least, 
we pray for temporal blessings for them, though we have little hopes 
that ever they shall be gained to the knowledge of the truth. Thus 
we are to pray for wicked rulers, for the conversion of human 
society; they may serve as a thorn hedge about a garden of roses. 
Thus it is said, Ezra vi. 10, That in the temple they should pray for 
the life of the king, and of his sons ; meaning the king of Babylon, 
Darius, at least for temporal favours. 


2. We have not such encouragement to pray for them as for the 
saints. For the saints we pray out of the unity of the spirit ; for 
wicked men, out of common charity ; for the saints, we pray out of 
a delight in their graces ; for wicked men, out of a loose possible hope : 
Heb. xiii. 18, Pray for us, for we trust that we have a good conscience, 
in all things willing to live honestly/ These should have the greatest 
share of our prayers ; we have the more encouragements and hopes of 
them, which should be an engagement to us to pray for them. 

3. Conditionally we may pray against the obstinate, and them that 
sin of malicious wickedness. There are many imprecations in Psalm 
cix., which are not to serve our private revenge, but by us to be con 
ceived conditionally. Those curses are uttered against Judas in a 
prophetical spirit, and therefore not to be drawn into example, to justify 
any heats of revenge and private passion : 1 John v. 16, If any man 
see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he 
shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto 
death ; I do not say that he shall pray for it. It is a tempting of God 
to intercede for that sin, seeing he hath declared his will ; the irre- 
missible sin is that sin, though it be hard to be found out. Therefore 
it is good to keep to the conditional form. When a man, after the 
profession of religion, falleth to an utter revolt and deadly hatred of it, 
it is a shrewd presumption they have committed that sin. 

4. We feel sometimes a restraint upon our prayers. God by oracle 
forbade the prophet to pray for the people : Jer. vii. 16, Therefore 
pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, 
neither make intercession to me, for I will not hear thee/ When he 
was resolved to put his wrath in execution, he would not have his 
people s prayers lost ; and still the same spirit that stirreth up to prayer 
searcheth out the deep counsels of God. So that there is a kind of pro 
phetical light in prayers ; God suspendeth the fervency and actual assist 
ance, by which we are carried on at other times. I would not justify 
every private passionate conceit ; but yet we must look upon the Spirit 
of God as the interpreter of God s counsel, and that he will not stir up 
prayers to no purpose. Yea, sometimes we feel that, after much striv 
ing, we have no heart to pray for them, which is a very great mark of 
God s displeasure upon any person, when God s people, yea, even after 
much struggling with themselves, have no heart to pray for him. 

Thirdly, The reasons why he prayed for them. 

1. Because they were given him by the Father. 

2. Because he could say to the Father, They are thine. 

How they are given unto him of the Father we showed before. I 
shall only now consider the last reason, which is more formally ex 
pressed, For they are thine. 

1. Observe, the elect are so given to Christ that they are still the 
Father s. Though they are mine by grant, yet thou hast lost no part 
of thy right and propriety in them. They are given to me by way of 
oppignoration, not by way of alienation ; as the father that giveth his 
daughter in marriage to another doth not lose his fatherly propriety ; 
she is her husband s, and she is her father s. God hath given every 
elect soul as a spouse to Christ, and yet they remain his ; yea, they 
were given to Christ that God s right might be preserved. All men, 

VER. 9.] SERMON S UPON JOHN xvn. 253 

by right of creation, are his; but they are especially his who are 
redeemed by Christ and sanctified by the Spirit, because the destina 
tion and tendency of their lives is still to the Father s glory. Others 
are his in right, but in the -use and course of their lives they are the 
devil s ; God hath lost them, as it were. But those that are given to 
Christ are not lost, but his still ; partly because of Christ s aim, who 
still worketh in them to preserve the Father s right: John xiv. 13, 
Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father 
may be glorified in the Son. The persons glorify one another : John 
xvi. 14, He shall glorify me ; for he shall receive of mine, and shall 
show it unto you. They are Christ s members, that the Father may 
be glorified in the purposes of his grace. Partly in regard of the 
course and tendency of their conversations : John xv. 8, Herein is my 
Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit. The Father is glorified by 
our fruitfulness. 

Use 1. It is an engagement to believers to walk so that God may not 
be ashamed to own them for his, the Spirit not ashamed to dwell in 
them as temples ; that they be not as stables of filth, but as temples of 
the Holy Ghost ; nor Christ ashamed to own them as members; he will 
not be the head of an ulcerous body ; nor God the Father ashamed of 
his choice. If ye bring forth much fruit, he is glorified, he hath not 
made an unworthy choice. But otherwise, you grieve the Spirit, 
Eph. iv. 30 ; you crucify Christ/ Heb. vi. 6 ; you shame the Father. 
But if you are sanctified and holy, the Spirit will own you, and work 
in you with joy : 1 Peter iv. 14, The Spirit of glory and of God resteth 
upon you : on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is 
glorified. By the innocency and holiness of your lives you make it 
appear what manner of spirit is in you ; he can own you with glory. 
Then Christ will not be ashamed of you : Heb. ii. 11, He that sanc- 
tifieth, and they that are sanctified, are all one ; for which cause he is 
not ashamed to call them brethren. Christ will count it no disgrace 
to himself to reckon you of his kindred and family ; he is not ashamed 
to say, They are mine; my brethren, my kindred, my family, my 
spouse ; he is not ashamed of his purchase. And God the Father will 
not be ashamed of you : Heb. xi. 16, God is not ashamed to be called 
their God. The Father will avow himself to be their portion, and they 
to be his, that for his sake do renounce the world. God will think it 
no dishonour to himself. 

Use 2. To disprove their claim 

1. That only can make their claim by creation : The Lord knoweth 
who are his. God s special interest is founded in grace. People say, 
He that made them, shall he not save them ? God will not own his 
creature that is disguised by sin : I know you not, you are none of 
mine : He that made them will show them no mercy, and he that 
formed them will show them no favour, Isa. xxvii. 11. No ; you are 
none of mine ; all his are given to Christ ; the interest comes not by 
nature, but by grace. 

2. Those that build their hopes on Christ, but do not walk as the 
Father s. Christ never chose a member that would not honour his 
Father: John xv. 16, Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, 
and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that 


your fruit should remain ; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father 
in my name, he may give it you/ Christ will not allow their claim 
who do not walk worthy of his Father s love, that they may have free 
and confident access to him in prayer. 

Use 3. See the felicity and dignity of those that believe in Christ. 
Christ saith to the Father, They are thine, his. peculiar and special 
portion : Bxod. xix. 5, Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above 
all people. The world is God s possession, but you are his treasure. A 
man may have lands that he visiteth now and then, but he taketh a 
particular care of his treasure. God loveth them as much as a covet 
ous man can love his treasure. We value men by their riches, but God 
valueth them by grace : 1 Peter ii. 9, Ye are a chosen generation, a 
peculiar people/ Xao9 et9 wepwroAyow. God hath bought them at a 
dear rate. We were his before we were otir own ; God had a thought 
of us before we had any being, and in time he made this distinction : 
Titus ii. 14, Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us 
from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, Aao<? irepi,- 
ovcuo9, his people of treasure, his most precious substance, picked and 
chosen by election, beautified with the righteousness of Christ, distin 
guished from others by grace. God looketh on them as the objects of 
his own choice, the fruits of his Son s purchase, and the workmanship 
of his own Spirit, set apart from all others for his own glory. 

2. Observe again, that nothing moveth God to mercy so much as 
the consideration that we are his. This is Christ s own argument, For 
they are thine/ And interest is elsewhere pleaded by the church : Isa. 
Ixiv. 8, 9, But now, Lord, thou art our Father ; we are the clay, 
and thou our potter, and we all are the work of thy hand. Be not wroth 
very sore, Lord, neither remember iniquity for ever : behold, see, we 
beseech thee, we are all thy people/ When we come to God, though 
we cannot plead merit, yet we may plead interest. As bad as we are, 
yet we are thine ; our enemies have used us at pleasure, yet thou 
hast been pleased to enter into covenant with us ; Lord, wilt thou not 
cast one glance and eye of favour upon thine own children ? Oh ! it 
is sweet when we can come into the presence of God with this confi 
dence : Eph. ii. 19, Now therefore ye are no more strangers and 
foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of 
God ; as some of his own household, and so sue out our allowance. A 
stranger is one that cometh, and his occasions being served, returneth 
to his own home ; a foreigner is one that dwelleth in a place, but is not 
privileged with the immunities and franchises which the natives enjoy. 
But now we are denizens, free of God s house ; have the liberty not 
only of servants, but of children ; therefore we may urge it in prayer. 
All the difficulty will be to get the interest evidenced. It is not con 
fidence, but impudence, when some men say to God, We are thine ; a 
wicked man slandereth him when he saith, Our Father. The great 
evidence is consecration. Did you ever give up your whole selves to 
God ? Do you walk as his, as having nothing of your own, at your 
own disposal ? Didst thou ever make this surrender ? When there 
are factions, to which hand do you cleave ? Do you say, I am God s, 
I am Christ s ? God doth, as it were, say, Who is on my side ? 
Who ? 

VER. 10.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 255 


And all mine are thine, and thine are mine ; and I am glorified in 
them. JOHN XVII. 10. 

WE have, in the former verse, the first solemn offer of Christ s inter 
cession or mediation between God and man ; and therein he doth 
professedly refuse to pray for the world. His reason was, he would 
pray for none but those that were dear to his Father and to himself. 
Now of the elect he might say, They are not only mine, but thine. 
They are given him by the Father, not by way of alienation, but 
oppignoration ; the Father lost no right by his grant and donation. 
The gift of the Father to Christ differeth from all the gifts of men. 
When men give, they alter the property of the thing given, or certainly 
are not so careful about it. When you give your son to be a servant 
or an apprentice to another, or when a scholar is put out to school, 
you lessen your care towards him ; or, to instance in a relation less 
mercenary and servile, when you give your daughter in marriage, you 
think there is a child bestowed, your fatherly title and propriety is not 
abolished, but your care is lessened. But now, though God hath put 
believers into Christ s hands, yet he hath not put himself out of posses 
sion, but hath still reserved his own right and care ; for the establish 
ment of the creature s comfort, Christ is taken in with himself. Christ 
hath a title proper to his distinct and personal operation to involve 
him in the care : Christ hath a title by purchase and redemption, and 
the Father hath a title proper to his personal operation by election : 
I pray for them which thou hast given me, for they are thine. The 
joint possession and care of the Father, together with Christ, is proved 
by a general assertion, built on that perfect communion that was 
between them : All mine are thine, and thine are mine, &c. 
The sentence is applicable to things and persons : 
1. To things : Ta epa iravra <ra eWi, ical aa epa, the original will 
bear it ; so the fathers generally understood it of the concreated * and 
infinite riches of the Godhead, which all the persons had in com 
munion. Epiphanius confuting the Sabellians, moveth this question : 
Tl Se etrrlv ra rov Trarpo? ? and answereth, <5>eo9 o Trarrjp ; debs e 7 w 
et/u : i77 6 Trarrjp ; far) 670) eljM. The parallel place seems to coun 
tenance this exposition : John xvi. 15, All things whatsoever the 
Father hath are mine; therefore, said I, that he shall take of mine, 
and shall show it unto you. Christ had spoken of his departure, his 
absence was to be supplied by the Spirit ; now lest this should seem to 
derogate from himself, he saith, He shall take of mine ; he shall 
enrich the church with the treasures purchased by me ; I bought them 
with a dear price, and in the way of grace will distribute them. Now 
lest this should derogate from the Father, he addeth, All things what 
soever the Father hath are mine ; the same fulness of the Godhead, 
majesty, perfection, essence, blessedness. It is the Father s Spirit and 
mine. Christ came in as an heir to the Father, and the Spirit as 
executor to Christ of his last will and testament. I cannot utterly 
exclude this sense, yet I think it is not the formal intent of this place. 

1 Qu. uncreated ? ED. 


From hence we may gather the unity, and yet the distinction of the 
divine persons, they have their distinct right and title, and yet they all 
communicate in the same essence, dignity, and privileges. 

2. To persons ; and so it implieth not the uncreated riches of the 
Godhead, but their created goods and possessions. Believers are the 
created treasure of the divinity, and every person hath a distinct right. 
Christ saith to the Father, They are thine/ and again, They are 
mine ; and the Spirit is not to be excluded, though he be not men 
tioned, as appeareth in the parallel place but now quoted. They are 
God s children, Christ s members, and the Spirit s temples. 

But to come more closely to the words : All mine are thine, and 
thine are mine. How are believers Christ s ? how the Father s ? The 
first title Christ hath to us is the same that he hath to all things else ; 
all things are God s and Christ s by creation and preservation. So the 
whole Godhead saith, Ezek. xviii. 4, All souls are mine/ God is the 
maker and judge of all. But that sense is too large for this place. 
Christ useth it as a special argument why he prayed for his own and 
not for the world. Another sort of creatures must be understood ; by 
creation the beasts are theirs as well as men : Ps. 1. 10, For every 
beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. But 
there is a peculiar heritage in which they delight, of which it is said, 
2 Tim. ii. 19, The foundation of the Lord standeth sure, having this 
seal ; the Lord knows those that are his. There is a number of men 
whose names are written and sealed ; now these are the Father s, the 
Son s the Spirit s. The text speaketh only of the two first persons, 
and so I shall mainly carry on the discourse. The distinct possession 
must be understood according to the personal propriety of each person ; 
thine by election, mine by redemption. All that I am to redeem, to 
make intercession for, that are to have benefit by me, are God s elect ; 
and all God s elect are to have benefit by me. 

The point which I shall handle is, the commensurableness of the 
distinct propriety of all the persons in believers ; election, redemption, 
and sanctification are of the same sphere and latitude. They are one 
joint possessor, Lord and maker: All mine are thine, and thine are 
mine. All that the Father electeth the Son redeemeth ; and I may 
add (because he communicateth in the same unity of essence) the 
Spirit sanctifieth. So the apostle, 1 Peter i. 2, Elect according to 
the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the 
Spirit unto obedience, and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, 
the same persons are interested in these personal operations of the same 
Godhead. Election is ascribed to God the Father, sanctification to the 
Spirit, and reconciliation to Jesus Christ. The beginning is from God 
the Father, the dispensation through his Son Jesus Christ, and the 
application through the Holy Ghost. This is the chain of salvation, 
and never a link of this chain must be broken. The Son cannot die 
for them whom the Father never elected, and the Spirit will never 
sanctify them whom the Father hath not elected nor the Son redeemed. 

Reason 1. From the unity of essence. They are one ; and if any per 
son be interested in them, all must ; otherwise men might be beholden 
to Christ that were never beholden to the Father nor the Spirit. They 
are OJAOOVO-IOI, and opoTipot,, of one essence and of equal dignity ; none 

VER. 10.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvir. 257 

shall be beholden to one that are not beholden to the other. It is very 
notable that when Christ speaketh of his own flock, and the certainty 
of their conversion and the sureness of their estate, he saith, John x. 
27-30, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow 
me ; and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, 
neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father which 
gave them me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them 
out of my Father s hand : I and my Father are one. He is greater 
than me as redeemer. If I acknowledge them for mine, they must 
have grace, and cannot miscarry. We are two persons, but one God ; 
he is a joint-cause working together with me, one in power, one in 

Reason 2. From the unity and agreement in will and design. They 
are one, and agree in one ; the persons are resolved to glorify one 
another. In man s salvation the Father will have the honour of 
electing, that the Son may have the honour of purchasing, and the 
Spirit the honour of sanctifying. It is said of the Spirit, John xvi. 14, 
He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it 
unto you : and Christ saith, John xiv. 13, Whatsoever ye shall ask in 
my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 
The Son came into the world to make good the purposes of the Father : 
John viii. 50, I seek not my own glory; and the Son sendeth the 
Spirit. God sendeth the Son, and the Spirit anointeth Christ : Acts 
x. 38, God anointeth Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and 
with power. There is a perfect agreement, mutual missions between 

Use 1. To condemn them which put asunder those operations which 
God hath joined together, the Arminians in doctrine, the common 
people in practice. 

1. The Arminians in doctrine, by dividing Christ from election, or 
election from Christ; as if Christ were to die for those that were never 
elected and chosen to life, equally as for those that were ; or as if he 
expected glory from and designed salvation unto all alike. These 
trouble the links of the chain of salvation. How can it be said, All 
thine are mine, and mine are thine, when God would never own them, 
and the Spirit would never sanctify them ? 

2. The common people, that sever the election of God and redemp 
tion of Christ from the sanctification of the Spirit. They say Christ 
died for them, when there is no evidence of it ; or that God loveth 
them, when there are no fruits of his love. The fruit of the Father s 
love is sending of the Spirit, and he that hath not the Spirit of Christ 
is none of his, Horn. viii. 9. If God had chosen thee, thou wouldst be 
sanctified. Sanctification it is as it were an actual election ; John xv. 
19, Because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world 
hateth you. As by election we are distinguished from others in the 
counsel of God, so by sanctification we are actually set apart. If Christ 
had died for thee, thou wouldst have the whole fruit of his purchase : 
Eph. v. 25, Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he 
might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. 

Use 2. Information how believers come to be possessed of such 
excellent privileges. All that are God s are Christ s, and all things 
VOL. x. R 


that are Christ s are ours by faith. There is the same communion 
between us and Christ as there is between Christ and God : 1 Cor. iii. 
23, All are yours, for you are Christ s, and Christ is God s. We 
have it from the Father s love by the Son s purchase. Christ was 
God s natural heir ; he made a purchase that he might adopt heirs, 
and take them in with himself : by. faith we are taken in. We may 
say between us and Christ, All mine are thine, and thine are mine ; 
I am my beloved s, and he is mine ; Cant. ii. 16. 

Use 3. To show us the comfort of the faithful. God and Christ 
have an equal interest in them: the Father loveth them as Christ s, as 
his own ; Christ careth for them as the Father s, as his own : 1 John 
i. 3, ; Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus 
Christ/ God made the elect members of Christ s body, that he might 
redeem them. Christ made them children of his family, that he might 
love them. The Father saith, They are mine ; the Son saith, They 
are mine. The power of God issueth through Christ for their salva 
tion : 2 John 9, He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath 
the Father and the Son. We may expect the fruits of elective love 
and the fruits of Christ s purchase. Two are better than one; we have 
the Father to love us, the Son to redeem us, the Spirit to sanctify us, 
and bring us to God ; it is a great advantage : John xvi. 27, The 
Father himself loveth you. When Joab saw the thing was pleasing 
to David, he interceded for Absalom : 2 Sam. xiv. 1, The king s 
heart was towards Absalom. We have more confidence to speed in 
our prayers : he loveth us for his own sake, and for Christ s. Christ 
hath satisfied the justice of God, and God is reconciled ; we have more 
boldness of access to him ; we need not fear his justice, we have a 
double claim, and may lay hold with both hands. 

1. We have God on our side, who is the supreme judge, the offended 
party, the first cause and fountain of blessing. 

2. By Christ we have a near relation to God : we are Christ s more 
than angels ; they are ministering spirits, not the spouse of Christ s 
bosom, nor members of his body. God hath given us to him, as he 
brought Eve to Adam ; we are near to God : John xiv. 20, I am in 
my Father, and you in me, and I in you ; as a woman married to the 
king s son by the king s consent. The whole blessings of Christ s pur 
chase are ours ; we have God in our nature working righteousness, 
making atonement, meriting blessedness, sending the Spirit as pur 
chased by him. 

And I am glorified in them/ So we render it, that it may lie 
indifferent to any sense, though the word properly signifieth, I have 
been glorified in them. It relateth not only to their past, present, but 
future endeavours for Christ s glory. 

But how was Christ glorified by his disciples ? 

Ans. 1. Passively, as he glorifieth himself in them, by comforting, 
refreshing their hearts, doing good to persons so despicable and un 
worthy, and manifesting the riches of his glory in them. 

2. Actively, by their faith, by their ministry, by their life and 

[1.] By their faith. To glorify any one, is to have a good esteem 
of him. Those that did not believe did as it were obscure the dignity 

VEIL 10.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 259 

of his person, rejecting him as a contemptible man. Now the apostles 
do everywhere express their faith in his godhead, and their sense of the 
dignity of his person and office, as I cleared in opening the 7th and 
8th verses. 

[2.] By their ministry. Christ was by them made known, and was 
yet to be further manifested. After the resurrection they were his 
heralds, to proclaim his triumphs for him over death and hell ; and 
his ambassadors, to go out into the world and gather subjects for his 

[3.] By their life, and so by the constancy of their profession, when 
others shrink in the wetting : John vi. 66-68, From that time many 
of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said 
Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away ? Then Simon Peter 
answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go ? thou hast the words of 
eternal life. By their self-denial : Mat. xix. 27, Behold, we have 
forsaken all, and followed thee ; fathers, mothers, nets, trades, &c. So 
by their holiness and fruitfulness of conversation, they were such a 
company of which Christ was not ashamed. 

This is a new argument that Christ urgeth for their respect with the 
Father ; whence I observe : 

Doct. That the more we desire to glorify Christ, the more confidence 
we may have of his intercession for us. 

1. It is the evidence of our interest in the Father, and the Son, and 
Spirit. Interest is the ground of audience ; none can hope to speed 
with the Father but his own, those that are God s and Christ s. 

[1.] It is an evidence that we have an interest in the Father ; he 
acknowledges them for his that glorify his Son, them and no other : 
John xvi. 27, The Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved 
me, and have believed that I came out from God. God s love can 
have no cause but itself ; our love to Christ is a certain sign of God s 
love to us. It is not the principal reason why he loved them, but the 
argument whereby Christ would prove that his Father loved them. 
So that this is the evidence;, if we would have any confidence of our 
interest in God, and speeding at the throne of grace. Do you glorify 
Christ by love and faith ? Christ is his beloved, and he loves all them 
that love Christ. So again, John v. 23, That all men should honour 
the Son, as they honour the Father : he that honoureth not the Son, 
honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. Every man naturally 
is touched with a reverence towards the Godhead. Now God the Father 
commandeth we should yield a like reverence to the Son, who is his 
: iving and perfect image. He that doth not worship Christ and honour 
Christ doth but worship and serve an idol ; for he doth not honour 
God in that way wherein he will be honoured, and hath revealed him 
self, because they are in the unity of the Godhead, neither of them can 
be worshipped without the other. 

There is a noted story of Amphilochius, bishop of Iconium ; when 
the Arians, who denied the godhead of Christ, had freedom of their 
meetings and lectures and disputes, under Theodosius the Great, to the 
great disturbance of the church, and the emperor could by no means 
be drawn to suppress them, Amphilochius, after he had tried all 
other means without effect, found out a way worthy of record, saith 


Theodoret, whereby to make the emperor sensible of the evil of his 
toleration. One day as he came into the palace, and the emperor and 
his son Arcadius were standing together, whom he had lately made 
joint-emperor with himself, Amphilochius saluteth the father with ac 
customed reverence and humility ; but when he cometh to the son, he 
speaketh to him as to a private child, and stroking his head, saith, How 
dost thou, my child ? without other expression of civil honour and re 
verence. The emperor was exceeding angry at the contempt, and 
that he had not given his son equal honour with himself, and therefore, 
after many rebukes, causeth him to be dragged out of the palace with 
disgrace ; and as they were pulling and haling him, he, turning to the 
emperor, said, emperor ! after this manner, and infinitely more, is 
God the Father angry with those that do not honour his Son equal 
with the Father, but make him less in nature and dignity. By this 
sensible conviction the emperor was touched in conscience, and with 
tears embraceth the good old man, and presently maketh a law against 
the Arians, in which, under a great penalty, he forbiddeth their public 
meetings and lectures against the godhead of Christ, and by the bles 
sing of God was confirmed in the true religion, in which before he 
staggered and wavered. 

All this is brought to show that God will not own us unless we 
honour Christ, and glorify him as we glorify the Father. 

[2.] It is the evidence of our interest in the Son. Those that mind 
Christ s glory, he mindeth their salvation. He is interceding for you 
in heaven when you are glorifying him on earth ; he is doing your 
business in heaven when you are doing his business in the world; 
he is your advocate, and you are his bailiffs and factors: Mat. x. 
32, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also 
before my Father which is in heaven. When you own Christ in the 
world, and avow his name and truth in the world, you shall lose no 
thing. When you come to pray, Christ will own you : Father, hear 
him, this is one of mine. You cannot honour Christ so much as he 
will honour you. When carnal men come to pray, Christ saith, I know 
them not/ Oh ! it is sad to be disowned in the court of heaven, when 
Christ disclaimeth any interest or intendment in his purchase for us, 
they are nothing akin to me, are none of mine. When we do all 
things for by-ends, we disclaim God for a paymaster, and therefore 
must look for our reward elsewhere. 

[3.] It is a sign of your interest in the Spirit : John xvi. 14, He 
shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto 
you; that enlightening, quickening comfort and refreshing which AVC 
have, when it is used to the glory of Christ, it is a sign the Spirit 
dwelleth in us. 

2. Because the glorifying of God in Christ is the great condition of 
the covenant of grace. God hath made a bargain with believers to 
give them grace, and by way of return he expecteth glory. All the 
privileges of the covenant are leased out to the heirs of the promise, 
and this is the rent and acknowledgment which God hath reserved to 
himself. See the form of this contract, Ps. 1. 15, Call upon me in the 
day of trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. In all 
experiences of grace God will be glorified. Glory and praise are the 

VER. 10.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 261 

revenues of the crown of heaven, and all the persons of the Godhead 
are joint-possessors ; the Father will be glorified, the Son and the 
Spirit will be glorified too. Well, then, they that expect all comfort, 
and do not regard duty, they mistake the tenor of the covenant. God 
must needs be angry when we deny him his rent and acknowledgment; 
you forfeit your lease and charter, and how will you do to pray with 
confidence ? It is notable in the covenant of grace, what God doth to 
us in a way of mercy, the creatures return to God again in a way of 
duty. God justifieth, sanctifieth, glorifieth the creature, these are the 
great blessings of the covenant ; and in our way we are to do it again 
to God to justify, sanctify, and glorify God. To justify God : Luke 
vii. 29, And all tlte people that heard him, and the publicans, justi 
fied God, being baptized with the baptism of John. To sanctify God: 
Isa. viii. 13, Sanctify the Lord of hosts in your hearts ; and here, I 
am glorified in them. We are to justify God, his ways against the 
cavils of the world, the riches of grace against the prejudices of our 
own hearts ; to sanctify God, to set him aloof in point of fear and trust, 
above all the powers and excellences in the world, as to sanctify is to 
set apart from common use; and then we glorify him when we advance 
him in our thoughts, and faith, and esteem. Our best thoughts are 
but a disgrace to the Godhead ; he is advanced far above all blessing 
and praise ; yet God counteth he hath another throne when he is ex 
alted in thy heart. 

3. Because we gratify the aim of God. God s great end in all his 
dispensations is to glorify his Son, and in his Son himself ; God seeketh 
his own glory by glorifying Christ in our nature. We had neither had 
word, nor gospel, nor Christ, nor grace, but for his glory. It is said, 
Prov. xvi. 4, The Lord hath made all things for himself ; that is, for 
the manifestation of his glory ; for God, being so perfect as he is, can no 
other ways be advanced ; it must be, therefore, to make himself known. 
He made the world that he might be glorified, and for the same reason 
he made us in Christ: Eph. i. 12, That we should be to the praise of his 
glory/ 4? TO dvai ; all that we are in religion is for this end. We had 
need respect God s glory, for we owe all that we have to it ; God is set 
upon it : 1 Sam. ii. 30, They that honour me, I will honour. 

Use 1. Information. We lose nothing by glorifying Christ ; it is a 
pledge of our interest in his intercession. We shall have this honour 
and comfort, that Christ will be our advocate. In the world we are 
like those six hundred that were David s companions in the wilderness, 
they had hard service and little wages ; but when David was crowned 
in Hebron, they were all advanced to offices and places of power and 
trust. In the world, if we glorify Christ indeed, we shall meet with 
hard entertainment, but you will not repent of it when Christ appeareth 
in the day of his royalty. Nay, for the present you will lose nothing ; 
worldly losses are made up in spiritual comforts, and that is a good ex 
change. Do but observe Peter s question and Christ s answer : Mat. 
xix. 27, 28, Peter said, Behold we have forsaken all, and followed thee, 
what shall we have therefore ? In Peter s question we may observe, 
that albeit we suffer little for Christ, we think much of it. Peter s 
case was poor and slender. Alas ! what did he leave ? A poor cot 
tage, a net, a fishing-boat ; he had no lands nor heritage : from a 


fisherman he was made a disciple. The loss is little ; but we think it 
a great matter if we part with our superfluities, with the tenth part of 
a child s portion for Christ s cause, and owning Christ s interest, or the 
propagation of religion. Nay, if we suffer but a disgraceful word, or 
discountenance, or a small inconvenience in our name, or estates, we are 
apt to say with Peter, What shall we have therefore ? Thoughts of 
merit are natural, and we put a high price upon our petty services ; 
what shall we be the better? But observe Christ s answer: And Jesus 
said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, 
in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his 
glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes 
of Israel/ Pray mark, Christ pardoneth the infirmity of the demand ; 
there was somewhat of pride in it, and somewhat of fleshiness, in 
having respect to a carnal reward ; the dreamed-of earthly honours, 
that Christ would share and divide among them ; but Christ passeth it 
over, and gives a gracious answer. Nay, mark, Christ promiseth a 
greater reward than Peter could expect, a kingdom to each of them in 
the regeneration. I shall not examine that expression, that doth not 
so suit with my purpose ; but I observe, that though the things we do 
and suffer for Christ be not worthy to be spoken of, yet the least thing, 
if done in sincerity, will be highly esteemed and richly rewarded ; 
Christ will intercede for thee, and plead for thee with his Father, and 
if once he openeth his mouth, thou canst never miscarry. The apostle 
saith, Heb. vii. 25, He is able to save to the utmost all that ( come unto 
God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 
Christ, when he hath begun to intercede, doth not give over till thou 
hast honour enough for honouring him ; He will save thee to the 
utmost/ Oh! why should we be prejudiced against the service of 
Christ? Certainly we shall be no losers in the end. Christ will not be 
behind hand with you ; he is making way for your everlasting glory by 
his constant intercession. Now therefore be not troubled ; you need not 
seek another paymaster than Christ; we have something in hand, there 
is present comfort, besides what we have in hope. 

Use 2. Exhortation ; to press us to glorify Christ. Order your lives 
so that Christ may plead, Father, I am glorified in them/ I do not 
press you now to glorify God in general, but to glorify Christ as 

But what is it to glorify Christ ? I answer 

1. You will glorify him by faith. Christ is glorified, when you 
acknowledge his person and office, as revealed to you in the word, and 
accordingly build your hopes and comfort on him. Now faith hath a 
double office it accepts Christ from God, and presents Christ to 
God; it accepts Christ in the word, and maketh use of him in 

Let us speak of both these. 

[1.] It accepts Christ. When men slight the offers of Christ which 
God maketh to them, they dishonour him exceedingly ; it is a con 
tempt cast upon the Son of God, as if he were not worth the taking : 
Acts iv. 11, This is the stone which was set at. nought of you builders, 
which is become the head of the corner/ God made him a glorious 
foundation of hope and comfort, and you pass him by as nothing 


worth ; it is a high scorn put upon the choice of God, and the excel 
lency of Christ. You look upon him as rubbish, not worth the re 
garding, and God sets him out as a precious stone : Mat. xxii. 5, But 
they made light of it, and went their ways ; one to his farm, another 
to his merchandise, a/AeX^o-avre? ; they would not take it into their 
care and thoughts. A careless disregard of the offers of the gospel 
offendeth God exceedingly ; you slight the wisdom of the Father and 
the love of Christ. God employed all his wisdom in the contrivance 
of grace ; the gospel is the masterpiece of heaven. The Father dis- 
covereth the riches of his wisdom, and Christ paying a ransom, obeying 
and dying, discovered the riches of his love and grace ; and when this 
is offered to you, you will not take it into your care and thoughts ; it 
is the greatest dishonour you can cast upon him. But now, To them 
that believe, Christ is precious, 1 Peter ii. 7. ri,^ ; they can see 
nothing so worthy their study, and time, and care, and thoughts. 
This is the sum of their desires, that they may take Christ as God 
offereth him ; all other things are but aw/SaXa, dung and dog s- 
meat in comparison of the excellency of him, that I may be found in 
him, PhiL iii. 9. By this esteem and care Christ is exceedingly glori 

[2.] It presents Christ. In all our endeavours to God we must 
build our acceptance on the merits of Christ : John xiv. 1, Ye believe 
in the Father, believe also in me. There is a belief in God and a 
belief in Christ, in his merits. We should never go to God but we 
should take Christ along with us ; in all your addresses make use of 
him. Whenever you have to do with God, you must go to him in 
Christ ; and you must go to him with a confidence that you shall speed 
the better for his sake : Eph. iii. 12, In whom we have boldness, and 
access with confidence, by the faith of him. A man may use some 
liberty and freedom with God when he hath Christ on his side, and 
offer up his prayers to God in the mediation of his beloved Son. Out 
of Christ we can see nothing but majesty armed with wrath and power ; 
but now, when you make use of Christ as a mediator, you may take 
hold of God with both hands ; justice and mercy are on your side, you 
have merits to urge as well as requests. But, alas ! how little do we 
glorify Christ in.our addresses to God. We come with little hopes, with 
little confidence, our best is but guess and conjecture. Thus by faith 
should we glorify Christ. Low and base apprehensions that men have 
of Christ dishonour him. 

2. By the holiness of your conversations. Every Christian should 
walk so as remembering that Christ s honour lieth at stake. It is not 
a moral life that I persuade you to, but a Christian life, such a life 
wherein Christ may be specially honoured. 

[1.] For the manner ; your practice should be elevated according to 
the height of your privileges in Christ. A Christian should do more 
than a man: 1 Cor. iii, 3, Are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 
We expect that he should go faster that rides on horseback than he 
that goeth on foot. In Christianity, duties are elevated to a greater 
proportion ; the laws are the same, but we have higher engagements. 
Wherein do ye differ from others ? There should be a singularity of 
holy life. There should be something more in your lives than if ye 


came out of the school of a philosopher, or Jews, or Turks, or moral 
heathens, that know not Christ. 

[2.] For the principle ; Christ must be honoured. You must make 
him the principle of your obedience to God. You must make use of 
Christ not only in point of acceptance but assistance : Phil. iv. 13, I 
can do all things through Christ, that strengtheneth me ; G-al. ii. 20, 
Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life 
which I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who 
loved me, and gave himself for me. He will be honoured by depend 
ence, as the cause of all our spiritual being. Whatever we have, life, 
sense, and motion, it is derived from him our head, to us his members. 
You rob him of his chief glory if you do not depend upon him, and 
make him the principle and head of every vital influence. 

[3.] For the end ; you must make his interest the great end of your 
lives : Phil. i. 21, E/iot TO ^v, Xpicrrb<i, For me to live is Christ. 
He would not have life for any other end but to advance Christ ; all 
is done with a pure eye to him : Kom. xiv. 7, 8, For no man liveth 
to himself, and no man dieth to himself : for whether we live, we live 
unto the Lord ; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord ; whether 
therefore we live or die, we are the Lord s. A regenerate man must not 
live as his own man, but as the Lord s, as one that is wholly given up to 
Christ, not wedded to his own interest, but altogether for Christ s glory. 

[4.] The motive must be gratitude to Christ ; all must be done for 
Christ s sake : 2 Cor. v. 14, For the love of Christ constraineth me. 
God s love in Christ should be the great swaying motive. Shall I not 
do something for him that died for me ? Christ is exceedingly hon 
oured when there are such kind of arguings and workings in the heart. 

3. We must glorify Christ in our enjoyments. When we think of 
our title to anything, think, This I have by gift, be it justification, 
sanctification, glorification, comfort of the creatures. Whatever privi 
lege we look upon as ours, we must see Christ in it : 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23, 
All are yours, and ye are Christ s, and Christ is God s/ All mercies 
swim to us in his blood ; he purchased them of God, and conveyed 
them to us, that we might be sensible that we have all in and by 
Christ. He did not only purchase them, but began to us in every 
privilege: Christ first had them and then we; he was elected, justi 
fied, sanctified, rose again by covenant, ascended, and was glorified ; 
in all these things, Christ would show himself to be the heir of all 
things. He was the elder brother, and had the pre-eminence as the 
heir ; he would possess, and then make the testament. It is true, in 
the comforts of the world, Christ possessed little, but he had a right 
and title, which he hath made over to us. To declare his right, the 
creatures, one time or another, did him homage ; the angels ministered 
to him, the devils confessed him, the winds and seas were at his beck, 
a fish paid him tribute. Well, then, look upon Christ in every enjoy 
ment ; he was the purchaser, and he was the first heir and possessor. 

4. We glorify Christ by doing and suffering for the advancement of 
his interest and kingdom. Never were there such a zealous parcel 
of men as in the first days of the gospel ; they seemed to some as if 
they were even mad for Christ : 2 Cor. v. 13, For whether we be be 
sides ourselves, it is to God ; much in spirit, much in labours, much 


in afflictions. Primitive zeal is much decayed. Many are like the 
carbuncle ; if you look upon it afar off, you would think it all on fire ; 
but touch it, and it is key-cold. Keligion is turned into a mere prattle 
and talk; few mind the interest of Christ. A Christian should be 
always devising how he may lay forth himself for Christ, for the 
advancement of his ordinances, enlargement of his kingdom ; and to 
this end we should neither spare body nor estate, nor life itself. You 
should honour him with your substance : Prov. iii. 9, Honour the 
Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thy increase ; 
it is but a tribute to the King of the church. Now miracles are ceased, 
God will propagate the gospel by the bounty of those that have tasted 
the sweetness of it ; if the Lord hath need of it, why should we stick 
at anything? Honour him with your relation. As a magistrate; 
magistrates must improve the interest of Christ by discountenancing 
error ; they who reign by Christ must reign for him ; see if God doth 
not reckon with Gallios. As a merchant, honour him with thy traffic, 
to promote religion by trade : Deut. xxxiii. 18, 19, And of Zebulun 
he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out ; and Issachar in thy tents. 
They shall call the people unto the mountain, there shall they offer 
sacrifices of righteousness : for they shall suck of the abundance of the 
seas, and of treasure hid in the land. Every affair should be cast into 
the mould of religion, or we do not act as Christians. Jesuits and 
papists will rise up in judgment against us. So in your private sphere, 
do something for Jesus Christ in your families. A Christian should 
not have any relation but he should make some advantage of it for the 
honour of Christ. So for suffering, Christ is glorified in the courage 
of those that bear forth his name to the world. Let it not be grievous 
to us ; it is much to be active for God, but it is more to be passive. 
Let glory to Christ be written, though it be with our blood ; only with 
these cautions : 

[1.] We must think ourselves to be honoured by this service, how 
grievous, disgraceful, and troublesome soever it be : 2 Cor. v. 9, <t\o- 
Tifj,ovp,e0a, Therefore we labour, that whether present or absent, we 
may be accepted of him. We labour, that is, we strive after this 
honour, to labour with ambition. The meanest service about princes 
is honourable, if it be a groom, or any other inferior employment. A 
servant of the Lord is a higher honour than the prince of the power 
of the air ; Satan s title is windy and lofty. To do for Christ, saith 
Ignatius, is a greater honour than to be a monarch of all the world. 
Christ is such an excellent person, that anything that is done in and 
about him reflecteth an honour upon the person that doeth it. The 
second temple exceeded Solomon s because of Christ s presence : Hag. 
ii. 9, The glory of the latter house shall be greater than of the former, 
saith the Lord of hosts ; and in this place will I give peace, saith the 
Lord of hosts. Bethlehem was little among the thousands of Judah/ 
Micah viii. 2, yet there Christ was born. So hardship with Christ, 
brown bread with Christ, shame and disgrace with Christ, is honour 
able : Acts v. 41, They went away from the presence of the council, 
rejoicing, ort KaTrj^iwdijcrav a-n^aadrivai, that they were counted 
worthy to suffer shame for the sake of Jesus Christ ; it is, that they 
were honoured to suffer dishonour for Christ. Service is an honour, 


suffering a privilege : Phil. i. 29, To you it is given in the behalf of 
Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake. 
Unless you have this mind, it is but a factious obstinacy, not a reli 
gious suffering and doing for Christ. 

[2.] There must be a sense of your unworthiness : Luke xvii. 10, 
When you have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants ; we have 
done that which was our duty to do. A poor unworthy creature. 
Alas ! what have we done ? Christ is doubly honoured by a direct 
aim and tendency of the endeavour, and by your humble profession. 
David prepared for the temple with all his might : 1 Chron. xxii. 14, 
Now behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the Lord 
an hundred thousand talents of gold, and an hundred thousand talents 
of silver, &c. ; a poor gift for the great God ! We are apt to over 
value our services and endeavours, therefore it is very good to retain a 
humble modest sense of them. Poor creatures ! what do we do, that 
have received, not only life and breath, but grace and glory, and all 
things from Christ ? It is good to be humble for what we do, and to 
acknowledge it to be a thing wholly unworthy of God. 

[3.] You must ascribe all to Christ s glory ; as Joab, when he had 
conquered Kabbah, sent for David to take the honour ; so must we do 
for Christ. This is still doubling of honour and glory : 1 Cor. xv. 10, 
By the grace of God I am what I am ; and his grace which was 
bestowed upon me was not in vain ; for I laboured more abun 
dantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God which was 
with me. The pen doth not deserve praise if the writer draweth a 
fair letter : Gal. ii. 20, I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me ; and 
the life which I live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God. 
The stars disappear when the sun shineth in its strength. The work 
is enough, let God take the honour : 1 Chron. xxix. 14, But who am 
I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly 
after this sort ? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we 
given thee. David never speaketh in that strain, but on the occasion 
of a singular mercy. David ascribeth all to God, the ability, the will, 
the goods, the mind. So in all our engagements for Christ, he must 
have the praise ; as one man in a press or crowd lifteth up another, 
and he only is seen, when the other is lost in the throng. . 

5. By being zealous for his institutions ; then you honour Christ, by 
giving the wisdom and power of a lawgiver to him. The highest 
power of a prince is legislative. When you keep to Christ s laws, you 
count him faithful in his house, and acknowledge him king in his 
church. But now, when we set up our threshold by God s threshold, 
Christ is dishonoured, as if he were not faithful in his house : Mat. 
xv. 6, Thus have ye made the commandments of God of none effect 
by your traditions. By the traditions of men ye make void the law of 
God, rjKvpcocrare, ye unlord the law, so the word signifieth. 

6. By taking some solemn time to meditate of and admire the excel 
lency of his person and the fulness of his redemption. In heaven this 
will be our great work, there they praise the Lamb for evermore : Kev. 
iv. 10, 11, The four-and-twenty elders fall down before him that sat 
on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast 
their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, Lord, to 


receive honour, and glory, and power ; for thou hast created all things, 
and for thy pleasure they are and were created. They do not slight 
their glorious work. All the glory they have is God s mere bounty ; 
they hold it by grace, and magnify it by grace. So Kev. v. 8, The 
four beasts and four-and-twenty elders fell down before the lamb, 
having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which 
are the prayers of the saints. There is the employment of the church 
militant and triumphant. Harps, which are instruments of praise, 
belong to souls already glorified ; as vials full of odours belong to be 
lievers on earth. The earth is the true place of prayer, as in heaven 
we shall be employed in eternal thanksgivings. All the church is 
yielding homage to Christ ; it is the study of saints : Eph. i. 16, I 
cease not to give thanks for you. It was Paul s constant practice, he 
breathed nothing but Christ : 1 Cor. ii. 2, I determined to know 
nothing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified/ Our 
thoughts of Christ should be sweet to us ; we should have ravishing 
apprehensions of him from day to day, ravishing thy heart with the 
excellency of Christ. 

Use 3. Is consolation to them that desire to glorify Christ. It is a 
singular prop in your prayers, in every address you have an interest in 
Father and Son : They are mine, saith the Lord ; I loved them with 
an everlasting love. They are mine, saith Christ ; I redeemed them 
with an everlasting redemption. And will not God provide for his 
own, and Christ for his own ? Can he that hath the Father and Son 
miscarry and doubt of audience 1 You have the Father, who is the 
original fountain of blessing ; and you have Christ, who is the golden 
pipe and conveyance. But especially in your last address, when you 
lie on your deathbed ; you know Christ s own plea, John xvii. 4, 5, 
Father, I have glorified thee upon earth, I have finished the work 
that thou hast given me to do. And now, Father, glorify thou me 
with thyself, with the glory that I had with thee before the world was. 
It is a sweet evidence. What doth God look for from the creature 
but glory ? 

Object. 1. But you will say, I cannot glorify Christ in my addresses 
to God, and cannot come with an assurance becoming his purchase. I 

1. When we cannot apply, let us disclaim : Lord ! we come not in 
our own names, our own worth and desert, which is none at all ; we 
come in the merits of Christ ; we know there is no other name under 
heaven ; Hosea xiv. 3, In thee the fatherless findeth mercy ; that is, 
every person that wanteth a guide, relief, and support. Though we 
cannot say, Father, yet we can say, we are fatherless, we have none to 
help us. 

2. If we cannot speak of the love that he beareth to us for Christ s 
sake, yet let us plead the love that he beareth to him. Christ s name 
is very dear and precious in heaven, being God s beloved Son : Lord, 
for the love that thou bearest to Christ. We are his clients, though 
we cannot say we are his members. Though I cannot say, Thou art 
mine, yet I may say, He is thine, a mediator of thy setting up. 
God might have refused us, if Christ had not letters-patents from 
heaven, and his commission under the broad seal of God : John vi. 27 ; 


Him hath God the Father sealed. Lord, he is thy own authorised 
mediator. Moses was refused, that interposed of his own accord, Exod. 
xxxii. 32, 33. I have nothing to bring thee but a mediator of thine 
own. It is a prevailing argument. 

Object. 2. Alas ! there is little that I do for God ; my station is 
private : those in the magistracy and ministry, that are in an eminent 
sphere of activity, they may glorify Christ, they do his work upon 
earth ; but what do I do ? I answer 

1. God will be glorified by every man in his way and place : John 
xvii. 4, Father, I have glorified thee upon earth, I have finished the 
work that thou hast given me to do. We must not speak of our rank, 
Christ is glorified by thy diligence and faithfulness in thy private place, 
a man-servant, or a maid-servant : 1 Cor. vii. 22, He that is called 
in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord s free man ; being redeemed 
from the thraldom of Satan, and servitude of sin, he doth glorify 
Christ : Titus ii. 9, 10, Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own 
masters, and to please them well in all things, not answering again, 
not purloining, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the 
doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Godly servants, what an 
ornament are they to the gospel ! By the first inlets of religion into a 
family, it is made beautiful and lovely in the eyes of carnal men, who 
esteem the doctrine by the life and practice of the professors of it. 
Servants in those days were bought and sold like beasts. The Lord doth 
not esteem men by the places they hold, but by their carriage in them. 

2. There is no station so private but thou mayest do something 
for Christ, to bring up thy children in the nurture of the Lord, to 
instruct thy servants., thy neighbours, thy fellow-servants. Zeal is like 
fire or like leaven, it will spread and diffuse itself. 

Object. 3. I have laboured, but to little purpose. 

Ans. Success is not thy work, but God s. We must mind our duty, 
and leave the success to God ; we shall not be responsible for lack of 
success, but want of endeavours : Isa. xlix. 4, Then I said, I have 
laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain ; 
yet surely my judgment is with the. Lord, and my work with my God. 
It was a complaint of Christ himself ; his ministry was without fruit, 
yet not without reward. We may have the crown of faithfulness, if 
.not the fruit. A minister is like a fountain that always runneth, 
whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear. So you must 
act in your families. 

Object. 4. I was never called to martyrdom. I doubt I shall not 
glorify him. 

Ans. 1. Wish not for troubles, but leave them to God; and when 
they come, take up his cross. Simon of Cyrene was compelled ; we 
must not choose our cross, but bear it. Christ himself did not carry 
his cross till it was laid upon him ; we must not seek it, but take it 
up ; not brew our cup, but drink it. When a cross meeteth us in our 
way, which we cannot escape without sin or breach of conscience, we 
must bear it. 

2. There is seldom a time when religion is not difficult, and doth 
not put us on some inconvenience, if not upon the displeasure of a 
magistrate, yet of carnal friends ; if not for some main truths of chris- 

VER. 11.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 269 

tianity, yet for some of Christ s lesser institutions ; present truths usually 
go cross to interests. 

3. The less trouble abroad, the more at home ; if you do not conflict 
with a naughty world, yet with a naughty heart. There are doubts in 
point of comfort, difficulties in point of obedience. A Christian, in. 
good earnest, never meeteth with a sleepy lazy time, all calm and rest. 
It is good to be jealous of ourselves ; it doth not weaken our confi 
dence in Christ, but our fleshly security. 

Object. 5. But I have many self-ends, and do what I can, they will 
be interposing ; and I can do nothing for Christ, but am ready to be 
biassed by some carnal aims. 

Ans. It is impossible to think to be without failings, as to our ends 
and principles, as well as the manner of duty; but a Christian is 
judged by his main scope and purpose of his life. If this be the main 
thing, Christ will own you, and intercede with God for you. 


And now lam no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I 
come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those 
whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. JOHN 
XVII. 11. 

HITHERTO Christ had argued with the Father, and showed many reasons 
why he would pray for the disciples. Now he cometh from arguments 
to requests. Here the prayer itself beginneth. His first request is, 
that God would have a care of them when he was gone from them ; as 
a father, when he is about to die, commendeth his children to the care 
and tutelage of a near friend ; so doth Christ commend his disciples to 
God : And now I am no more in the world, &c. 
The circumstances notable in the verse are these 

1. The occasion of the prayer, wherein there is a new cause and 
reason why he commendeth them to the Father, And now I am no 
more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee/ 

2. The compellation of the party to whom the prayer is made, 
Holy Father. Titles are suited to requests : Kom. xv. 13, Now the 
God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing. 

3. The matter of the prayer, for perseverance in grace, Keep through 
thine own name. 

4. The parties prayed for, Those which thou hast given me ; an 
argument often urged before. 

5. The end of the prayer, or of the blessing asked in prayer, That 
they may be one ; which is amplified by the exemplary pattern, as 
we are one. Or rather, the whole is a new request ; two matters are 
prayed for conservation from evil, and perfection in good. Christ 
prayed for conservationem a malo, et perfectionem in bono. 

In this verse there is a large field of matter. Let me explain the 
words, and then raise some practical observations. 
First, I begin with the occasion. 


I am no more in the world ; that is, by and by I shall be no more. 
Christ was yet in the world ; for he saith, ver. 13, These things I 
speak in the world ; still subject to the miseries of it ; his passion was 
not over, his sorest combat was at last, and that was nigh at hand ; 
but Christ went to it with such a resolved mind, that he seemed 
already to be exempted from a worldly condition. But how no more 
in the world, since he saith, I am with you to the end of the world ? 
He is spiritually still with us, but he was about to withdraw his cor 
poral presence. 

But these are in the world/ I am almost on shore, but these are 
still to remain at sea, floating upon the waves ; out of the duty of their 
calling, they are to stay behind, and must expect tempests, labours, 
dangers, and persecutions, infirmities within, and temptations without. 
The world is a step-mother to the saints ; Christ pitieth their case that 
they are to stay in the world, as those that are in the haven pity their 
fellows that are left behind at sea in the midst of the storm. 

And I come unto thee. An explication of what he said before, I 
am no more in the world ; only it addeth something more. * I am 
no more in the world, implieth only his death ; but I come to thee, 
his ascension. It is expressed before : John xvi. 5, I go my way to 
him that sent me : I go to the Father, ver. 10. I am about to enter 
into the glory of the Father. It doth not signify, as Lyranus would 
have it, I come to thee in prayer, by way of address and supplication ; 
but, I come to be with thee in glory. Mark, there was a great deal 
of time yet to pass, forty days after the resurrection. Faith presents 
things future as present; in this sense we enter heaven before our 

In this clause, the occasion, I observe three things : 

1. Christ s ascension, Father, I come to thee. 

2. The necessary ceasing of his corporal presence by virtue of that 
ascension, I am no more in the world. 

3. Christ s care to make up that defect to his people ; it is the occa 
sion of the present address to God. 

Of these in their order. 

First, Of Christ s ascension, I come to thee. Here is (1.) The 
history ; (2.) The reasons ; (3.) The benefits ; (4.) The use that we 
may make of it. 

1. The history of Christ s ascension. There are many circumstances ; 
I shall touch upon them briefly. 

[1.] The time when he had finished his work, not only of doing 
and suffering, but giving sufficient instructions to the apostles about 
his kingdom : Acts i. 3, He was seen of them forty days, speaking of 
the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. As Hezekiah was to 
set his house in order before he died/ Isa. xxxviii. 1, so Christ would 
not ascend into heaven till he had set all at rights upon earth. Christ 
would have his house well governed after his death, and therefore 
stayeth forty days to give instructions. 

[2.] The place from whence he ascended ; from the Mount of Olives, 
Acts i. 12. A mount, a high and eminent place, to ascertain them of 
the truth of his ascension ; he did not withdraw himself secretly, as at 
other times, but in open view. The place is yet again notable : the 

VEB. 11.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 271 

Mount of Olives was the place from whence he went to be crucified ; 
the same mountain yielded him a passage to his cross and his crown ; 
there his pains and torments began, in the garden of that mount, and 
thence he ascended. How often doth the Lord make that place that 
hath been the scene of our sorrows to be the first steps to our rising 
and advancement ! Wherever the saints die, they have their Olivet, 
in the prison, on the scaffold, their sick beds, where they have been 
racked with tormenting pains. As sometimes with wicked men, the 
place of sin is the place of vengeance. So Ahab s dogs licked up his 
blood in the same place where he shed the blood of Naboth. 

[3.] The place to which, the third heaven. The tabernacle figured 
the church, the temple heaven. In the temple were three partitions ; 
the court, where was the altar of burnt-offerings ; the holy place, 
where was the table, candlestick, shew-bread, and the altar of burnt- 
incense ; then the holy of holies, where the high priest came once a 
year. So in that vast space which the scriptures call heaven, there 
are, as it were, three storeys the etherial heaven, the starry heaven, 
and the heaven of heavens ; into this Christ, as our high priest, is 
entered. There was not only a change of his presence, but a transla 
tion of his body into the high and holy place. 

[4.] The witnesses, the eleven apostles ; these were his choice wit 
nesses, not the whole company of believers. 

[5.] Another circumstance was his last action a little before his 
ascension : Luke xxiv. 50, He blessed his disciples ; nay, it is added 
again, to put the greater emphasis upon it, ver. 51, And while he 
blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. . 
It is the fashion of good men to die blessing ; Jacob and Moses, when 
they were to take their leaves of the world, they blessed the tribes. 
Christ, before he would go, would first leave his blessing ; nay, the last 
act with which he would close up his life was an act of blessing, to 
show that now the curse was removed, and he was going to heaven to 
convey the blessing to all the heirs of salvation : Acts iii. 26, Unto 
you first, God having raised up his son Jesus, sent him to bless you, 
in turning away every one of you from his iniquities ; as God blessed 
Adam and Eve, when his wo*k was done. 

[6.] The manner : Acts i. 9, When he had spoken these things, 
while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of 
their sight. The cloud answered to God s appearance in the taber 
nacle. When we look on the clouds, this was Christ s chariot ; he will 
come again in like manner. 

[7.] In his ascension he went to heaven as a conqueror, he triumphed 
over his enemies, and gave gifts to his friends : Eph. iv. 8, When he 
ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto 
men. As glorious conquerors lead their chief enemies fettered in iron 
chains. So Col. ii. 15, Having spoiled principalities and powers, he 
made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it, eV avr&, non 
sudore et sanguine aliorum, ut quondam imperatores solebant. There 
is some difficulty about the exposition of that place ; those seem too 
literally to interpret it that think there was some open pomp and show. 
The Papists say he went to the limbus patrum, and took Abraham, 
Isaac, Jacob, and other holy men of the Old Testament, along with 


him in triumph to heaven ; but then he should have taken the devils. 
Zanchy thinks there was some real visible triumph, visible not to all, 
but to God, angels, and men, leading the devils through the air. Still 
it seemeth too gross, and to be asserted without warrant. But this 
must be interpreted suitably to the other acts of his office; this triumph 
must be referred to his ascension. Christ fought for heaven, and struck 
the last stroke on the cross, seized on the spoil at his resurrection, led 
them in triumph at his ascension, and by his quiet sitting on the throne 
his subjects enjoy the benefit. 

[8.] Christ s entertainment by the angels. Some were left to com 
fort the apostles : Acts i. 10, While they looked steadfastly towards 
heaven, two men stood by in white apparel. These two men were 
two angels in the shape of men. When the husband is to go a long 
journey, he writeth to the wife from the next stage, whilst her grief 
is fresh and running, and giveth an account of his welfare. Christ 
despatcheth two messengers out of his glorious train, which message 
being done, they accompany him with other angels into heaven : Dan. 
vii. 13, I saw one like the Son of man, with the clouds of heaven, 
and they brought him near before him. They, that is, the angels ; 
the Son of man, that is, Christ, as appeareth by the next verse, they 
wait upon him, and guard him into the presence of God. Certainly 
if the angels came so cheerfully to proclaim his incarnation when 
born, what triumph is there by that blessed company in heaven at his 
ascension ! Still the angels are in Christ s company ; when he cometh 
to judgment, the angels shall come with him. Christ coming into the 
presence of the Father, is royally attended ; his entrance into heaven 
is glorious, with glorious applauses and acclamations : Ps. xxiv. 11, 
Lift up your heads, ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting 
doors, and the king of glory shall come in ; viz., at the coming of his 
humanity ; so Justin Martyr, Basil, Euthymius. But clearly there is 
an allusion to the bringing the ark into the place prepared by David 
for it ; a figure of Christ s entrance into heaven. They applaud him 
as mighty in battle, as newly returned from the spoils of his enemies. 
The entrance of a victorious and triumphant captain is there described, 
and so it is proper to Christ. Once mooe, the blessed saints have the 
like applause. Isaiah describes it, Isa. Ixiii. 1-3, Who is this that 
cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah ? this that is 
glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength ? I 
that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red 
in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine- 
fat ? I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was 
none with me/ &c. There is a dialogue, as before, to express the 
saints acclamations to Christ ; the church is brought in there wonder 
ing at Christ s glorious triumph over all his enemies, as returning 
victorious from some bloody fight, like a great commander in goodly 
rich robes, besprinkled with the blood of his enemies. 

[9.] The last thing is his welcome from God : Ps. ii. 8, I will give 
theethe heathen for thine inheritance, &c. ; Ps. ex. 1, The Lord said 
unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies 
thy footstool ; compared with Mat. xxii. 44. In the day of his in 
auguration God will say, Welcome, Son ; sit at my right hand ; all the 

VER. 11.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 273 

kingdoms of the earth are thine. Christ doth not only enter as a 
conqueror, but as a favourite : Son, thy work is well done ; sit at my 
right hand ; that is God s first word to him ; and then, Ask what thou 
wilt, it is thine. It is a fashion among great princes, when they would 
show great affection or extraordinary liking to any, they bid them ask 
what they would ; as Herod to Herodias s daughter : Mat. xiv. 6, 7, 
When Herod s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced 
before them, and pleased Herod : whereupon he promised with an oath 
to give her whatsoever she would ask. And Ahasuerus to Esther : 
Esth. v. 3, What wilt thou, queen Esther, and what is thy request ? 
it shall be even given thee, to the half of the kingdom. 

2. The reasons why. Christ would not have gone, if it had not been 
expedient : John xvi. 7, Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is ex 
pedient for you that I go away/ A woman had rather have her 
husband live at home than go to the Indies, but when she considereth 
that it is to do her good, to enrich the family by traffic, she yieldeth 
her consent, it is a profitable voyage. So it is expedient that Christ 
should go to heaven. In the infancy of the church Christ was present 
as a nurse, but he would not have them always hang on the teat. The 
reasons of Christ s ascension are these : 

[1.] He is gone that we may look upon him as in a greater capacity 
to do us good. All weakness is now removed from him, his human 
nature glorified, and placed in heaven, his majesty restored ; we may 
now reflect upon the glory of his person with comfort ; he is now a 
king on the throne, a king in his palace, and a place of royal residence. 
David was king as soon as anointed by Samuel, but when he was 
crowned in Hebron then did he actually administer the kingdom. 
Christ had his followers in the days of his flesh, as David had his four 
hundred companions in the desert. The thief owned Christ upon the 
cross, and Christ tells him, This day shalt thou be with me in para 
dise, Luke xxiii. 43. What may we not expect from Christ now in 
heaven ! Every office is royally exercised ; as a prophet he sendeth 
out his Spirit ; as a king, he ruineth his adversaries ; as a priest, he 
intercedeth with God. 

[2.] To prepare a place for us : John xiv. 2, I go to prepare a place 
for you. It is good to consider how Christ prepareth heaven for us by 
his ascension. It was prepared before the world began, by the decree 
of God the Father : Mat. xxv. 34, Come, ye blessed of my Father, 
inherit a kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 
This was an inheritance intended for the heirs of promise ; by a free 
choice he designed the persons, and their particular portion and degree 
of glory. But because we are to hold heaven, not only by gift, but by 
purchase, Christ came from heaven to prepare it, and went to heaven 
again to prepare ; yet further to open the door that was before shut 
up ; as our head, he went to seize upon it in our right ; as our legal 
head, he possesseth heaven in our names ; as a guardian taketh up lands 
for the heir, Christ holdeth heaven hi our right ; till we be ready for 
it, he keepeth possession. And as our mystical head and author of 
grace, he dispenseth the Spirit, and maketh us fit for that place, making 
intercession for us, that our sins be no impediment. He is called our 
forerunner : Heb. vi. 20,1 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, 

VOL. x. s 


even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. 
His going is to make way for us ; as our harbinger, to take up rooms 
and lodgings for us. As the captain of our salvation, he hath taken up 
quarters for himself and all his company : Heb. ii. 10, It became him 
for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many 
sons to glory, to make the captain of our salvation perfect through 
sufferings. Christ hath opened heaven s door that was shut up ; there 
was a guard set upon paradise, but Christ hath removed it. He is 
gone to fit all things for our entertainment, as Joseph was sent into 
Egypt to prepare for Jacob. Die when we will, our place is ready ; 
there is nothing to keep us out. The church is tossed with waves, but 
Christ is gone ashore, and hath secured for us a landing-place ; and 
his ascension is a pledge of ours, as he rose as the firstfruits of them 
that slept. It is the meritorious, exemplary, efficient cause of our 

[3.] To represent his satisfaction. The Levitical priest was to enter 
into the sanctuary with blood, so doth Christ into heaven, to show that 
he had done his work. The apostle hath an expression which needeth 
opening : Heb. viii. 4, If he were on earth, he should not be a priest. 
What is the meaning? Was not Christ a priest when he was on 
earth ? I answer Yes. Why then doth the apostle say that if he 
were on earth he should not be a priest ? that is, he could not dis 
charge the whole office of the priesthood ; for the high priest once a 
year carried the sacrifice through the court before the sanctuary, and 
there killed it, and there took the blood thereof into the holiest of all, 
and presented himself before the Lord to intercede for the people : so 
Christ carried his sacrifice out of the city, offered it up to God, and 
then entered into the heavenly sanctuary, where he liveth for ever to 
intercede for us, and his blood always runneth fresh ; and therefore, if 
he were on earth he could not discharge the whole office of a priest. 
So Heb. ix. 24, * For Christ is not entered into the holy places made 
with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into heaven itself, 
now to appear in the presence of God for us, e^aviadrjvai. As the 
high priest entered on the behalf of the people, with the names of the 
twelve tribes on his breast and shoulders, so Christ is entered on the 
behalf of us all, bearing the memorial of every saint on his heart. 
Mark, the apostle saith, Now to appear, not only once. The high 
priest stayed not within the sanctuary, but Christ is our constant lieger 
in heaven, all the time from his ascension unto this day, constantly, 
still, while it is called now. 

[4.] To pour out the Spirit ; John vii. 39, The Holy Ghost was not 
yet given, for Christ was not yet glorified. When the husband is 
wanting, then he sendeth tokens ; so when Christ is glorified, then he 
giveth out the Spirit ; as Elijah, when he ascended, let fall his mantle. 
Proper acts have their proper fruits. Christ in earth established our 
right, and in heaven he puts us in actual possession ; the purchase was 
by Christ s exinanition, the application by his advancement. It was 
not meet Christ should use a royal act till his advancement, and till 
he went to the Father ; he ascended then, that his blood might not be 
spilt in vain, but that he might be in a capacity to execute his own 
testament ; unless Christ had ascended, we needed not this supply. 

VER. 11.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 275 

3. The fruits and benefits of his ascension. 

[1.] It is a sign God hath received satisfaction. His resurrection 
was a pledge of it, then our surety was let out of prison, the Lord sent 
an angel to remove the stone ; not to supply any power in Christ, but 
as a judge when the law is satisfied, sendeth. an officer to open the 
prison doors with power and authority : Heb. xiii. 20, The God of 
peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus/ Christ was 
not to break prison. While the surety lieth in prison, the debtor can 
have no discharge. But now Christ s ascension gives a further degree of 
assurance. Christ is not only taken out of prison, but taken up to God 
with glory and honour. God hath taken up our surety to himself, and 
rewarded him. Christ hath perfectly done his work, or else he had 
never been taken out of the grave, much less taken up to God. God is 
well pleased with him ; he hath not only a discharge, but a reward. 
Christ is said not only to ascend, but to be received into glory, 1 Tim. 
iii. 16, ave/Sij, aveTuj^Or), an active, and a passive word ; the one noteth 
the power of his godhead, the other noteth the grant of the Father. 
Christ took upon him the quality of our surety, and he must pay every 
farthing ere he can go to his Father. It is a sufficient pledge : John 
xvi. 10, Of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and ye see me 
no more. Thus there was an everlasting righteousness established ; he 
was never to see God s face more if he had not perfectly done his work : 
Gen. xliii. 5, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother be with 
you. He is God s favourite. 

[2.] It is a pledge of our ascension : John iii. 13, No man hath 
ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the 
Son of man that is in heaven. Ascendit solus, sed non totus. Head 
and members must be together ; our head being there before, the 
members must follow after. Christ speaketh as if he were not content 
with his own heaven without us : ver. 24, Father, I will that they also 
whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may be 
hold my glory which thou hast given me. Christ took our flesh to heaven, 
and left his Spirit, which is an earnest of our glory : 2 Cor. v. 5, He 
hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. God never taketh anything 
from his children, but he sendeth them a better thing in the room of it. 

[3.] We have an intercessor at God s right hand, a favourite in the 
court of heaven : 1 John ii. 1, If any man sin, we have an advocate 
with the Father, even Jesus Christ the righteous ; as when offenders 
have a favourite in court. We need a mediator in heaven ; he is gone 
to disannul all Satan s accusation. The sacrificing [part is done and 
ended, and his intercession now taketh place. We have these two great 
advantages in prayer Christ is our advocate, and the Spirit our notary. 

Use 1. Information. 

1. It informeth us of the privileges of God s children. When a 
child of God dieth, he doth but go to his Father. Christ and we have 
the same relation : John xx. 17, I ascend unto my Father and your 
Father, to my God and your God. He is no more in the world, but 
still he is. He doth not say, I am no more, but I am no more in 
the world ; they do not leave life, but the world. As Christ was the 
Son of God by nature, they are the sons of God by grace, and when 
they die, they go to their heavenly Father, to a sweet rest, to the bosom 


of God. The same entertainment Christ had, we shall have, a joy 
ful entertainment, a sweet welcome when we come to heaven, and the 
conduct of angels thither : Luke xvi. 22, The beggar died, and was 
carried by the angels into Abraham s bosom. God will take us as it 
were by the hand, with a Well done, good and faithful servant ; thou 
hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many 
things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord, Mat. xxv. 21. 

2. It informeth us that all that Christ did was for a believer s use 
and comfort ; if he cometh into the world, it is to merit ; if he ascendeth 
into heaven, it is to apply. He descended from heaven for the redemp 
tion of man ; after that work is accomplished, he ascendeth thither 
again to bestow it on us ; and at the last di y he will come again and 
fetch his bride ; as when all things are ready, the heir cometh in per 
son to fetch the bride into his father s house. Going, coming, staying, 
still Christ is ours. He was born for us, he lived for us, he rose again 
and ascended for us : it is for our good that he went away ; whatever 
he did, in his abasement and exaltation, it was for our good. 

3. It informeth us that the greatest comforts may be supplied, 
Christ s corporal presence by the presence of the Spirit : 2 Cor. i. 5, 
That as our sufferings in Christ Jesus have abounded, so our conso 
lation also hath abounded through Christ. They should lose nothing 
by his departure : John xiv. 16, I will pray the Father, and he shall 
give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. 
He would not leave them orphans. We cannot be made unhappy by 
the want of any outward comfort ; we have the more of God, the less 
we have of these outward helps. If the corporal presence of Christ 
can be recompensed by the presence of the Spirit, certainly lesser sup 
ports of life will be recompensed. 

Use 2. Exhortation. 

1. To all sorts of persons to get an interest in Christ, and to clear 
it up to their souls. How sweet would it be if when we are no more 
to be in this world, we could say, Holy Father, I come to thee ! We 
all affect thie, Let my latter end be like his, as Balaam spake. At 
oportuil sic vixisse. An evidence of this is, if you ascend with 
Christ : Eph. ii. 6, He hath raised us up together, and made us sit 
together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Head and heart ought 
to be together. Your head is in heaven ; if your heart be there too, 
you are members of his mystical body. How shall a man know that 
he is ascended with Christ ? 

[1.] If the things of the world seem small ; as when we are in a high 
place, men seem as ants. Worldly glory will appear to be small, and 
worldly profits small. But when we are upon earth, heavenly things 
seem small, as stars appear but as spangles. 

[2.] If you behave yourselves to him as to a glorified person. Do 
you serve him ? John xii. 26, If any man serve me, let him follow 
me, and where I am, there shall my servant be. If any man serve me, 
him will my Father honour. Carnal men crucify him again. 

[3.] If you keep yourselves unspotted from the world, James i. 
26. No unclean thing shall enter into heaven. The world is a de 
filing thing ; that filth that cleaveth to our fingers in telling of money 
is an emblem of the filthiness of the world. A man that looketh to 

VER. 11.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvn. 277 

be like Christ in glory certainly would not defile himself in the world. 
If a prince marry a mean woman, would he endure to see her live like a 
scullion ? Christ hath married our nature. A man that loveth the 
world, and would always live here, is like a scullion that lieth among the 
pots. Would you yourselves hug nastiness, and embrace the dunghill ? 

2. To press God s children to be holy and heavenly in their minds, 
to wean their affections from the world. We should be where Christ 
is : Phil. iii. 20, Our conversation is in heaven, whence we look for 
the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ ; Col. iii. 1, If ye then be risen 
with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits 
at the right hand of God/ Who would not desire to be in heaven 
now Christ is there ? As the loadstone draws iron to it, let us be pre 
sent in heaven, as Christ is present on the earth by the Spirit. 
Though our bodies are tied with the fetters of the flesh, yet let our souls 
ascend, let our minds be there, our wishes, our desires there ; by these 
means we walk in heaven before our time. A stone, though it breaks to 
pieces by the fall, will move to its centre ; though we naturally abhor 
death, we should desire it to be with Christ. It is a shame that a stone 
should be carried with greater force to its centre than we to Christ. 

Use 3. Comfort. We have Christ for us in the heavens : Heb. iv. 
14, Seeing therefore that we have a great high priest that is passed into 
the heavens, Jesus the Son of God. We have Christ always for us 
in heaven ; he hath a part of his office to perform there. His absence 
doth not hinder us from having a right to him, or a spiritual posses 
sion of him. He is ours, and he hath his residence in heaven, 
and hath power to open it to us and give us entrance. His high 
honour doth not hinder him from the discharge of his office to do 
us good. He is at God s right hand, and yet a minister of the 
sanctuary. Christ hath a ministry, and part of his service to perform 
in heaven; is our faithful agent: Heb. viii. 1, 2, We have such 
a high priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of the 
Majesty in the heavens, a minister of the sanctuary. For all his 
glory, Christ is called TWV ^ytWXetro 1^709, a minister of holy things ; 
he taketh care of all holy things which we present to God, and to con 
vey holy and spiritual things to us. Christ is not stately : many for 
get their poor friends when advanced ; Christ regardeth his poor 
church as much as ever. The butler, when he was advanced, forgot 
Joseph : but he remembereth us ; he disdaineth not to look after 
every poor Christian : Heb. iv. 15, We have not a high priest 
which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities. His 
heart is not changed by his honour, but he in a greater capacity to do 
us good. Having such a friend in heaven, we need not fear a foe 
upon earth. Heaven is open for us : Heb. x. 19, 20, Having bold 
ness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and liv 
ing way which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to 
say, his flesh. 

Use 4. Direction in the sacrament. If we have anything to do 
with Christ, we know where to seek him : Blessed are they that 
believe, and have not seen, John xx. 19. Those that are far from 
court never saw the king. God hath removed Christ out of sight that 
we might behold him by faith. Let us look for him in the sacrament, 


not for his bodily presence. How can he be there bodily, when he is 
received into glory ? But for his spiritual presence, the influences of 
his grace, and a derivation of virtue from his person. 

Secondly. The next point is the necessary ceasing of his corporal 
presence upon his ascension : I am no more in the world, but these 
are in the world. Let us see the reason why he will be no more with 
us. Now the reasons why Christ would withdraw his bodily presence 
from us are these : 

1. That he might try the world, and yet in a way suitable to his 
glorious estate. Christ, when he came to try the Jews, he came in 
disguise, not as the Son of God, in majesty and glory : John i. 11, 
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. Still to try 
men s obedience there must be some veil. If he should be present in 
the world, in a glorious way becoming his majesty and empire, there 
would be no trial ; and therefore in a manner he still cometh in dis 
guise, his glory is veiled under the ministry of men, and carried on in 
a spiritual manner. If he should appear in glory and power, sinners 
durst not quack, and so the wickedness of man would not be dis 
covered, nor would the faith of his people be exercised with such 
praise and honour if he were personally and gloriously present. This 
is the commendation and praise of Christianity, that they can walk 
by faith when they cannot walk by sight ; 2 Cor. v. 7, We walk 
by faith, not by sight. They see not Christ, because he is absent in 
body ; yet they believe in him, and love him, and send their hearts 
after him. So 1 Peter i. 8, Whom having not seen ye love; in 
whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy 
unspeakable and full of glory. Faith is eagle-eyed, and can look above 
the clouds. The absence of Christ did not prejudice their comfort and 
hope. Faith contenteth itself with an intellectual sight and certainty. 
This is a trial of Christians, when they can believe in Christ, and re 
joice in Christ as if they did see him with their bodily eyes, and hear 
him with their bodily ears. Ibifigunt desiderium, quo nequeunt inferre 
conspectum, saith Leo They fasten their hearts upon him, though they 
cannot fasten their eyes. Faith is sight enough. Thus would Christ try 
the world ; but yet, as I said, in a way suitable to his glorious estate. 
If he should still have continued his body among us in that state of 
weakness wherein he conversed in the world, his holy body would still 
be subject to abuse, and the injuries and scorn of wicked men, which 
would not agree with his glorification ; and therefore, after his resur 
rection, he only showed his body to some few chosen witnesses, and so 
departed into heaven, that it might be no more seen, till he cometh to 
the last judgment with glory and power. So Christ himself saith, Mat. 
xxiii. 39, Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is 
he that cometh in the name of the Lord ; that is, till ye be compelled 
to say so, though now ye are angry at the children that welcomed me 
in this manner : Mat. xxvi. 64, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man 
sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 
Never till then, after I am taken down from the cross and buried. 

2. That way might be made for his spiritual presence. Some pre 
sence of Christ there must be for our comfort and safety : I will not 
leave you comfortless, 6p<j>dvov<;, but will come unto you, John xiv. 18. 

VER. 11.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 279 

That Christ is still spiritually present with the church is clear by those 
promises to the apostles and to believers. To the apostles and their 
successors : Mat. xxviii. 20, I am with you always, to the end of the 
world/ Into whatsoever place and time of the world our lot is cast, 
we may have an assurance of Christ s presence, that is, of his assist 
ance and blessing, as much as if he were actually and corporally 
present with us. To ministers : now if they improve their interest, 
they might have Christ in their company, as the apostles had ; they 
are taken into the same patent and charter. So also to all believers : 
Mat. xviii. 20, Wherever two or three are met together in my name, 
I am present in the midst of them. Whenever we are met together 
in any religious work and business, Christ s gracious presence is with 
us ; in this sense he will never depart from believers. Now this 
gracious presence was not vouchsafed till his corporal presence was 
removed. Partly because Christ will do nothing unnecessarily. When 
he was personally present, to solve their doubts, to instruct them in all 
cases, the Spirit was not poured out in such abundance ; as it is usual 
still with God to make up to us in spiritual supplies what we want in 
outward helps. Partly because his disciples had carnal thoughts of 
his bodily presence, and rested in it, which was to be confuted by his 
absence. Partly to make way for his unlimited universal influence ; 
his bodily presence could only be in some places; but now he is 
ascended, he filleth all things/ Eph. iv. 10. As the sun, if it should 
come down and shine on one particular field, it could not diffuse its 
beams far and near ; but now it is fixed in the firmament, nothing is 
hidden from its light. So Christ exalted, scattereth his beams and 
influences everywhere, into all parts and corners of the world. Partly 
because it was meet that Christ should enter into his glory and king 
dom, before he declared his efficacy to men by the more plentiful 
pouring out the Spirit ; as princes use at their coronation to give gifts 
and send abroad ambassadors. So when Christ was in his royal 
palace, he gave gifts unto men, and he gave some, apostles ; and 
some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers, 
Eph. iv. 8-11. 

Use 1. For confutation of the Lutherans, who, to establish their 
doctrine of consubstantiation, make Christ s ascension to be, not a 
local remove, but only a change of the manner of his presence ; they 
say he is still corporally present, but not visibly ; as if the human 
nature of Christ were made invisibly omnipresent, and not locally 
removed and carried into heaven. This is a doctrine contrary to 
scriptures; for it is expressly said, Acts i. 11, that he was taken up 
into heaven/ And by virtue of this taking up he is no more in the 
world, no more in the earth, nor in any place thereof ; for it is said, 
Acts iii. 21, That the heavens must contain him till the time of the 
restitution of all things ; there is his personal presence fixed. And 
therefore if any say, Lo here, or Lo there, believe him not. It is 
flatly contradictory to scripture that Christ should be corporally present 
on earth till he cometh to judgment ; and it is contrary to the truth 
of Christ s body ; though it be glorified, it is not deified ; a body cannot 
be omnipresent and without quantity, for then it is no more a body. 
And it is a doctrine barren, and of no use ; the presence of Christ s 


body is not so absolutely necessary to the comfort of a Christian : 
John vi. 63, It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth 
nothing. Nearness or distance of place doth not help or hinder his 
presence with us or efficacy upon us. The degree of his gracious 
operation doth not depend upon the degree of his personal presence ; 
as if Christ were like the sun, shining more or less hot according to 
the difference of his posture and situation. Christ doth not work like 
a natural agent, by contact, but according to his free pleasure, and the 
wise dispensation of his own will ; and our communion with him is 
wholly spiritual and mystical, not gross and carnal : The flesh 
profiteth nothing. Yea, it is against our comfort. Christ hath 
business to do for us in heaven, and it is our advantage that he is no 
more in the world. If he were not in heaven, he were not a priest : 
Heb. viii. 4, If he were on earth, he could not be a priest. And 
again, Heb. vii. 26, we had need of a priest who is made higher than 
the heavens ; that is, that is ascended into the third heaven, those 
a-^eipoTTOiijTa a<yia, those holy places not made with hands, now to 
appear in the presence of God for us, Heb. ix. 24. But to leave this. 
Use 2. To press Christians to look for the spiritual presence of 
Christ, though they do not enjoy his bodily. You may make use of 
Christ, now he is in heaven, as the disciples did on earth, to ask him 
questions, to seek his counsel, to commend your prayers and persons 
to God. It is no disadvantage to faith that Christ is removed out of 
sight, but only an occasion given whereby it may discover itself with 
more praise. Therefore let us believe in Christ, though we see him 
not ; we shall one day see him in the heavens to our comfort, and to 
the terror of the wicked ; in the meantime, let faith serve instead of 
vision. It will be your commendation, whom having not seen, ye 
love, 1 Peter i. 8. God hath removed Christ out of sight, to make 
way for the exercise of faith and love ; and it is much better by faith 
to converse with him in heaven, than by sight to see him upon earth : 
John xx. 29, Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believe. 
Thomas would make his senses the judge; he must feel the wounds, 
and put his finger in the print of the nails, and thrust his hand into 
his side ; which discovered the weakness of his faith. Faith is not 
grounded on sense, but testimony. Be not discouraged, though you 
never saw him in the flesh, you shall one day see him in heaven ; 
though you could not hear his gracious words, yet you have whispers 
and counsels from his Spirit. You saw him not hanging on the cross, 
yet he is crucified before your eyes, Gal. iii. 1. In the word and 
sacraments he is notably and plainly laid forth to faith. The gospel 
is a magical glass, as it were, wherein God will have the soul look, 
that we may see our absent friend, sic oculos, sic ille manus, sic ora 
ferebat ; there are the very postures of Christ. Therefore let us make 
use of our present advantages ; you may expect as powerful influences 
from him as if present in person ; as the sun doth not come down from 
heaven, but only his influence. There is a derivation of virtue from 
his person ; yea, Christ is not like the sun ; the farther absent from 
us in body, the more powerful is his influence : Eph. iv. 10, When 
he ascended up on high, he filled all things. Briefly then, if you 
have anything to do with Christ, you know where to seek him. Those 

VER. 11.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvu. 281 

that live far from court, never saw their king, yet they enjoy the benefit 
of his government, and are bound to allegiance. Christ is as meek, as 
gentle, as easy to be entreated as ever. 

Use 3. For the conviction of them that please themselves in fond 
wishes and excuses ; they think that if they had lived in the days of 
Christ s flesh, and had heard his words, full of grace and wisdom, it 
could not have been but they should have believed in him ; they would 
never have crucified him, as the carnal Jews, and never have rejected 
his person and doctrine. Thus they bind the efficacy and virtue of 
Christ to his corporal presence ; as if it would have been a greater 
advantage to them than his spiritual. A great deceit of the heart t 
This plea proceedeth upon a false supposal, as if Christ s virtue 
depended upon the nearness and distance of place. If there be any 
difference, now in heaven he is most apt to work, because he is entered 
upon his royalty, and the actual exercise of his kingdom. The apostles 
themselves, when they had Christ s presence, were more gross, dull, 
and carnal ; but afterwards they savoured nothing but heaven and 
life eternal. And again, it is usual for men to dislike present dispen 
sations, and betray their duties by their wishes. Alas ! if Christ were 
now present in the form of a servant, what sorry entertainment would 
most give him ! We think we should not have done what the Jews 
did ; in probability we would have clone worse : you grieve his Spirit 
as much as they did affront his person ; the malice of the Jews was 
more gross, but ours is as inexcusable. Besides, there is a natural 
reverence that even hypocrites will bear to their godly ancestors: 
Mat. xxiii. 29, 30, Woe unto you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites ; 
because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres 
of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, 
we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the 
prophets. Dead things and persons do not exasperate and cross 
present interests; the prophets, that lived in their ancestors days, 
were out of sight, no eyesore to present practices, their speeches were 
not personally directed to them. The worst men usually honour the 
dead, but are injurious to the living. As much as we detest the 
memory of Annas and Caiphas, so do they of Korah, Dathan, and 
Abiram. The name of Judas is not more odious to us than Ahab to 
them ; therefore our detestation of the Jews, or longing for the person 
of Christ, is no argument of great devotion to him. 


And now I am no more in the ivorld, but these are in the world, and 
I come to thee Holy Father, keep through thine own name 
those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we 
are. JOHN XVII. 11. 

THIRDLY, The next point is taken from that clause, But these are 
in the world. Christ s apprehensiveness of the danger of believers in 
their worldly state. 


In managing this argument (1.) I will open the danger ; (2.) Why 
God permitteth it ; (1.) Christ s apprehensiveness of it. 

1. To open the danger. There is danger from within and from 
without ; within are lusts, and without are temptations ; they are 
subject to many infirmities, and exposed to infinite dangers and 

[1.] From within. If we could live as fish in the salt sea, fresh, 
without any taint of saltness, without receiving a savour from things 
without, the danger would not be so great : 2 Peter i. 4, Having 
escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust ; the root of 
the matter is within us. The world without would do no harm were 
it not for the world in our own hearts. Pleasures, honours, profits are 
dangerous snares, but not to an angel. When John reckoneth up the 
contents of the world, he doth not reckon up the objects, but the lusts : 
1 John ii. 16, The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride 
of life. Satan is our enemy, the world is the bait, but our heart is 
the traitor. Baalam could not hurt Israel till he corrupted them by 
whoredoms. The worst enemy is within us ; we carry the danger in 
our own bosoms. We must look for blows in the world, but inward 
ulcers are worse than wounds, because the evil is inward, and the 
constitution of the body helpeth it. Sins are more dangerous than 
troubles, because they are aided by nature. 

[2.] From without. The world is an evil place, both in regard of 
sin and misery ; we are sure to be vexed or defiled, to be corrupted 
by the favours or discouraged by the frowns of it. In the world we 
have a great many enemies ; there is the god of the world, and the 
powers of the world, and the men of the world, and the things of the 

(1.) There is the god of this world. This country in which we 
dwell, it is the kingdom of Satan, Christ s bitter enemy. He is 
called the prince of the world, John xii. 31, not by right, but the 
world hath made him so. Can God s children live long in peace in 
the kingdom of Satan ? He cannot endure to lose one corner of his 
empire, therefore frowns and flatters, and seeks to corrupt or dis 
courage the saints : 2 Cor. iv. 4, The god of this world hath blinded 
the eyes of them that believe not. Titles are suited to the matter in 
hand. Satan blindeth most, as the god of this world ; the creature 
is but suborned, Satan is at the back of it, and lieth in ambush to 
surprise our souls ; Is not the hand of Joab in all this ? The devil 
is in the snare. The world is Satan s chessboard; we can hardly 
move back or forth but the devil sets out one creature or another to 
attack us, either by fear, causing us to draw back, or by the love of 
some worldly creatures alluring us out of the lists wherein we should 

(2.) The powers of the world ; usually they are set against Christ, 
and therefore at the latter end of the world they shall be broken and 
dashed to pieces. The world is a country wherein the church is a 
stranger ; every man fearing God is like a strange plant brought from 
a far country, hath much ado to grow. The wicked are like nettles 
and thistles, that grow without ploughing or watering, because they 
grow in their own place ; but the soil and air of the world doth not 

VER. 11.] SERMONS UPON JOHN xvii. 283 

suit with the saints ; one time or other they are nipped, here is no 
kindly weather for them. A Christian is not only a stranger, but an 
unconformist to the world : Horn. xii. 2, And be ye not conformed 
to this world, but be ye transformed in the renewing of your minds. 
In every age there is something or other started up for his trouble 
and exercise. In his Father s house he is taught to do otherwise, 
and this putteth him upon trouble. If God giveth the church a 
little rest, it is but like a well day out of the fit of an ague, to recover 
strength for the next trial ; a mortified saint, that is drawn up to 
heaven, and would live by the laws of his Father s house, must look for 
frowns : Yea, and all those that will live godly in Christ Jesus must 
suffer persecution, 2 Tim. iii. 12. Christ s grapes must expect the 
winepress ; all their care should be to yield good liquor. It is a 
statute, like the laws of the Medes and Persians : Acts xiv. 22, That 
through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God. 
Neither doth experience c